Bear Creek Lake Reallocation Project
The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have partnered to conduct a feasibility study on whether Bear Creek Lake can store more water for future use by Coloradans. This study will investigate the feasibility of reallocating reservoir storage for water supply, considering flood protection; safety; environmental, recreational, and economic impacts; and impacts to other resources from additional storage.
The study will be conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The non-federal sponsor is the CWCB, the water policy agency housed within the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. The City of Lakewood has provided recreation and land use data to assist in the determination of potential impacts.
Why is the study taking place? To address water supply and demand gaps. CWCB has recently completed a statewide water supply and demand study as part of the Colorado Water Plan. This study looked at various scenarios to forecast possible gaps between supply and demand by the year 2050. The South Platte Basin is projected to have an annual supply and demand gap that ranges from about 509,000 acre-feet per year up to 835,000 acre-feet per year.
Why was Bear Creek Lake chosen to study? As an existing dam, Bear Creek Lake provides a unique opportunity to store more water for a reasonable cost. An initial study conducted by the Corps in 2015 showed there is potential for additional water to be stored at Bear Creek Lake without impacting its flood control purpose. This feasibility study is a detailed analysis that will further investigate not only impacts to flood control, but also the environmental and recreational impacts from additional storage.
It is important to note that storage is not the only solution to address the supply and demand gap. CWCB recognizes multiple solutions must be implemented in tandem to secure our water future. Additional storage at Bear Creek Reservoir would be only one component, and this study seeks to answer the question of whether the reservoir could be used to help address the gap in water supply.
The Army Corps of Engineers is accepting public comment throughout the study process. Please mail or email all public comment to:
US Army Corps of Engineers
1616 Capitol Ave
Omaha, NE 68102
The first public Scoping Meeting for the Bear Creek Lake Reallocation Feasibility Study was held virtually on October 14,2021.