Drought Makes Upgrade to Dam Timely

Drought Makes Upgrade to Dam Timely

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Jed Boal ReportingThe Sevier River Drainage in Central Utah is severely depleted after five years of drought--as dry and desperate as any area in the state. As it turns out, there's no better time to upgrade the Sevier River Dam and hope there's water to fill it next spring.

Like many reservoirs in Utah Yuba Lake is about as low as it's ever been, less than four-percent of capacity, but the reservoir not only needs water, the Sevier Bridge Dam--or Yuba Dam--needed repairs, state-mandated upgrades.

In early August work crews drained the reservoir, built a temporary dam to hold back the water and got to work on the 2.7 million dollar project.

Clyde Bunker, Sevier Bridge Dam: “Everything has come together really well”

Today workers breached the temporary dam and let what water there is flow back in. The work is 90-percent complete. The face of the dam was seismically reinforced and a new guard gate that controls the flow from the reservoir replaced an older gate.

The state's largest privately owned dam stores water for farmers and other shareholders, like the nearby Intermountain Power Project. With so little storage, what snow falls this winter is all they'll get next spring.

This summer, the boat ramps and the picnic areas were as empty as the reservoir itself. In the next few weeks the state will stock the water with fish and start over again with the fish habitat.

Clyde Bunker, Sevier Bridge Dam: “The farmers are actually providing habitat for the fish; there's a lot of fishing in yuba lake."

Now all the dam needs is water to hold back.

The state paid for the upgrades from the water development fund.

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