Chatfield Reservoir sits at the confluence of the South Platte River and Plum Creek. Many know Chatfield Reservoir as a popular camping, hiking, and beach location. But not all visitors realize the reservoir was originally built in 1975 to control flooding and provide water storage. The area is also an important habitat for fish and wildlife. And, the storage space in Chatfield Reservoir is about to become larger as the reservoir is undergoing an expansion project.
Why expand? Colorado’s population is expected to nearly double by the year 2060 to approximately 11 million people, according to the Colorado Water Plan. That leads to a projected gap between water demand and water supply that could leave a shortfall statewide. The Chatfield Storage Reallocation Project is one of many solutions to help reduce the water supply gap and increase water storage for the future. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) identified that Chatfield Reservoir can accommodate an additional 20,600 acre-feet of water storage without compromising its flood control function. The additional water storage will help meet municipal and agricultural water needs.
Storing more water in Chatfield will raise water levels by about 12 feet. This rise requires project planners to redesign and renovate the recreational and environmental features along the shoreline. While some parts of the park have been closed during construction, others (such as the campgrounds) have remained open to cater to visitors. No additional water will be added to the reservoir until all construction is complete.
This month marks a milestone in the Chatfield Reservoir Expansion project. Several areas that have been closed for construction are scheduled to reopen. This includes Massey Draw, Balloon Launch, and Deer Creek Day Use Areas.
For more information, including maps and photos of the project, visit https://chatfieldreallocation.org/