The San Juan County Commission released a letter from the State of Utah detailing deadlines for the testing, design and cost estimates of proposed dams at Clay Draw and Gordon Reservoir sites now under consideration for additional water storage. All preliminary work should be complete by October, paving the way for a final decision which could allow work to begin as soon as funding is completed.
Because of Mancos Shale underlying the Clay Draw site and other problems, the Gordon Reservoir site is being considered and tested as an alternative. By raising the existing dam (seen in the picture) at the Gordon site, the water rights could be developed for about half the cost (savings of $15 million) of the Clay Draw site.
Both sites under study will capture run-off from Spring and North creeks; both could gravity flow to the Monticello City culinary system; and both would impound at least as much water as Loyd’s Lake, and maybe more depending on the outcome of the Gordon site studies this summer. The new reservoir could more than double Monticello’s water supply.
Because of the gravity flow feature of the new reservoir, it could decrease the need to pump water from Loyd’s Lake to the treatment plant in dry years. This would be a major savings to the City, and allow for increased agricultural irrigation out of Loyd’s Lake.
With above average snowpack this year, we will see much precious water pass through our current dams because of not enough storage capacity. It may be years before we have another winter with as much run-off as this one.