Update November 10, 2023
The 30% geotech drilling program is proceeding. The work may need to be pushed into the spring if bad/freezing weather occurs. Meetings were held with both the Homestake and Aurora SCADA to get input into the 30% design. The drilling and access road construction started on the main dam. Engineering work for the dam will commence when information is received from the lab.

Update August 18, 2023
Engineering work for the 30% design is continuing and the field work is moving forward with three drill rigs. Anticipated completion of the drilling is November 1. Approximately one-half of the holes for the pipeline are complete, and drilling work continues on the east and west dam. The main dam geotech work will commence.

Update April 11, 2023
Meetings were held with  contractors for the construction manager/general manager (CMGC) solicitation anticipated to occur in mid-May. The dam feasibility study is nearly complete with a few remaining items to be submitted. The 30% design scope and fees for both the dam and pipeline are almost complete. Staff anticipates a review by city council in April. Work on the feasibility study will commence in May. This project will take approximately one year to complete including all of the geotechnical investigations, which will take place this summer. Three drilling crews will be used for the geotechnical investigations.

Update 3/24/23
Staff have been holding meetings with interested contractors for the Construction Manager/General Contractor (CMGC) solicitation. The dam feasibility study is mostly complete with a few remaining items to be submitted. Work is moving toward the 30% design scope and fees which are almost complete for both the dam and pipeline with work anticipated to begin in May. This effort will take approximately one year to complete, including all of the geotechnical investigations this summer.

Update 1/19/23
Dam feasibility is moving forward and good progress is being made on the selection of a dam type. The dam study should be finished by end of this year. When completed, the 30 percent design will begin and progress to design completion sometime in late 2024 or early 2025. Pipeline work is also moving forward and an alternate has been selected. Permitting is underway and there is progress with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Update 6/24/22
We’re still planning on having firmer timelines for the project late summer or early fall. At this time, we do not have any additional information when construction will begin or end, what the potential recreationally opportunities could be at the reservoir or how this project may impact the roads. We’re keenly aware that many people are interested in this project and we will post updates just as soon as we have that information.

Update 2/14/22
Our consultant, Tetra Tech, is analyzing the core samples from the borings competed last year. Additional geotech work, including trenching, will occur this summer. Pipeline alternatives are moving forward as is dam facility design. A feasibility meeting was held on January 24 to review both the dam design and pipelines. The feasibility design for the dam should be completed in late summer, and by the end of the year for the pipeline.

Update 09/08/21
Our consultant, Tetra Tech, is back to get more borings to help inform our decision on dam sizing and location. They will be on the site through most of the fall. All activity is occurring on property owned by Aurora Water.

Update 02/26/21
We’re still reviewing the data from the Geological and Geotechnical Investigations referenced in the 10/27/2020 update. Our consultant, Tetra Tech, will be back in the area to continue these investigations this summer.

Update 10/27/2020
Core drilling activities at the proposed Wild Horse Reservoir site It’s been a while since we’ve had an update on the proposed Wild Horse Reservoir in Park County. Earlier this year, Aurora Water retained Tetra Tech as our consultant to perform Geological and Geotechnical Investigations. Understanding the site’s geology is critical, especially when you’re talking about a reservoir that could be up to 96,000 acre feet in size.

Since the weather window in Park County is short, Tetra Tech’s crews and subcontractors went to work as soon as they were authorized. Between July 27 and October 2, they completed 16 borings to depths between 150 and 300 feet, taking core samples to tell the story of how the area was formed over millions of years. 26 observation wells are in place to help model groundwater activity, and injection and pumps tests were performed so we could understand the potential for water loss through the reservoir bottom. Gravity measurements were also taken at 885 stations to provide a better understanding of the subsurface geology.

While the results of these investigations are still preliminary, they did confirm that the proposed site, located immediately southwest of Aurora Water’s Spinney Mountain Reservoir, was heavily influenced by volcanic activity over many millenniums. Several known faults were identified and explored for activity rate.

In the end, what does this all mean? We’ll know more in early spring after the data from the investigation have been analyzed, but we’re fairly confident that this site will support what will be Aurora Waters’ largest reservoir. We should also have an updated preliminary footprint for the reservoir, which can help us plan for the design and permitting phases and help us define a timeline for construction.

We’ll keep you updated as we learn more.

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