The lake has been empty for the last few years following a failure at part of the dam in 2003, which drained the reservoir. Construction repairs have been underway as well as renegotiations with FERC over the licence for Silver Lake and the associated Dead River hydro plant.

The company hopes to get the design process going to ensure the work on the hydro plant can go ahead. It has decided to rebuild the dam and reservoir without further effort to pursue licence amendments, based on feedback from public consultation on options.

UPPCO hopes to start work on the project later this year and complete towards the end of 2008. Following the construction work, Silver lake reservoir may take two to three years to refill, it said in a statement.

According to the conclusions of FERC’s Independent Board of Review, there were critical design flaws in the dam’s fuse plug, which led to faster than expected erosion of the plug’s foundation materials and spillway channel, resulting in the release of the lake in May 2003.

However, the plug designer, consultant MWH, disputed the findings. The consultant claimed the flooding would not have happened if the reservoir had been operated correctly, according to an earlier statement from UPPCO. The power company said it rejected the consultant’s claim.