Construction update for Deer Creek Dam begins
May 11, 2023, 5:44 PM | Updated: May 13, 2023, 2:50 pm
WASATCH COUNTY, Utah — The Deer Creek Dam and Reservoir are getting much-needed construction improvements so they can continue to deliver water to the community and mitigate flooding. The Provo River Water Users Association today kicked off the construction.
Due to the record-breaking snowpack in Utah’s mountains, there’s been a lot of focus this year on the flood mitigation capabilities of Utah’s dams, and water storage. The Deer Creek Dam is critical for both and so are these upgrades. With the turn of some dirt from a backhoe, Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson kicked off the Deer Creek Intake Project.
“This dam was built over 80 years ago, and now it’s got some parts that are wearing out that need to be rebuilt,” Henderson said.
The three-year project will upgrade the dam’s intake and guard gates, at a cost of $100 million. The Utah Board of Water Resources will cover $65 million, and the Central Utah Water Conservancy District, and the Provo River Water Users Association will come up with the rest.
This project will ultimately provide improved water quality and reliability for downstream users. The guard gates, which manage water flow in the reservoir, have been showing their age and need to be overhauled.
“They’re over 80 years old, and they definitely need some attention at this time. It’s really the only way we can control the reservoir. So, we want to make sure they’re operating flawlessly all the time,” Dave Faux, lands and facilities manager for the water users association said.
Deer Creek Dam delivers water to 1.5 million Utah residents, many on the Wasatch Front. So, nearly half of the state’s population uses water from Deer Creek Reservoir.
“We want to be proactive with this and be able to rehabilitate those gates before it becomes a problem,” Keith Denos, general manager of the Provo River Water Users Association said.
They’re building a bypass through the side of the mountain into the reservoir so they can do the work and continue to deliver water downstream without emptying the reservoir.
“Constructing in the wet is more prudent, it’s more environmentally friendly and it makes sure that we can make our deliveries downstream to our water users,” Denos said.
The overhaul also offers state-of-the-art protection against aquatic invasive species like quagga mussels. Today Deer Creek Reservoir is mussel-free, and they want to keep it that way.
Stakeholders in the project hope this work will extend the life of the dam and reservoir another 80 years.