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News & Announcements

September 16, 2013
Nichols Dam Drained for Outlet Works Improvement Project

The Public Utilities Department announces that improvement work on two city owned dams in the Santa Fe river watershed are underway. A $5,596,539 construction contract to replace intake towers at McClure and Nichols Dams was awarded to RMCI, Inc. and a notice to proceed with Nichols Dam work was issued on September 3, 2013.

Nichols Dam has been taken out of service and water levels drawn down in preparation for the removal of the existing intake tower, which funnels water to the treatment plant. The water in Nichols Dam was treated at the Canyon Road Water Treatment Plant and delivered to consumers and a portion released to the Santa Fe River as part of the living river program.

New intake structures will replace the original vertical towers at Nichols and McClure Dams which are over 70 and 85 years old respectively. The new intake structures will be built along the upstream faces of the earthen dam embankments. The intake structures will have direct access from the dam crests and will significantly improve operating personnel safety. The new intake structures will be equipped with newly designed intake structures will allow precisely controlled releases of water through the dams from a remote location at the Canyon Road Water Treatment Plant.

Operating personnel currently must use a boat to reach the tower or walk over ice in winter conditions. After reaching the tower personnel must climb up the outside of the tower to reach the top of the tower and then descend down the tower to perform valve maintenance and repairs.

Nichols Dam has a total storage capacity of 684 acre feet (223 million gallons) and McClure Dam has a total storage capacity of 3257 acre feet (1061 million gallons). McClure Dam currently has 1043 acre feet (3340 million gallons) of stored water and is filled to 32% of total capacity.

Work at Nichols Dam will be substantially completed in late spring 2014. McClure Dam construction is scheduled to begin September 2014 and be substantially completed in late spring 2015

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