Hydropower upgrades coming to Williams Fork

Power plant tune-up marks first repairs to water intake gate in nearly 60 years.

December 1, 2017 | By: TAP Staff
Water spills over Williams Fork Dam during construction in the late-1950s.
Water spills over Williams Fork Dam during construction in the late-1950s.

 

This month, Denver Water is starting a preventative maintenance project on a hydropower turbine, generator and water intake gate at Williams Fork Dam.

Denver Water attempts to upgrade each of its hydropower units roughly every 10 years to boost reliability and efficiency of the equipment. For this project, we also need to remove the large water intake gate that controls the flow of water to this turbine.

This will mark the first time this gate will have been fully removed since it was installed in 1959.

The upgrades will be complete in spring 2018.

Williams Fork Reservoir is an exchange reservoir, which means the dam and power plant send water and electricity to the West Slope when Denver brings water to the city via other reservoirs. So, while Denver doesn’t directly receive water from Williams Fork, it is still a crucial piece of the Denver Water system.

Standing 217 feet above the Williams Fork River streambed, the dam backs up a reservoir of nearly 97,000 acre-feet of water. Williams Fork Reservoir’s surface area is 1,860 acres with a 15.8-mile shoreline.

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