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Bolts Lake Redevelopment Project


Eagle River Water & Sanitation District (ERWSD) and Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority (UERWA) are planning to redevelop Bolts Lake in Minturn into a 1,200 acre-foot reservoir.  

ERWSD and UERWA are collectively the second largest municipal water suppliers on the western slope, serving 55,000 customers during peak seasons, and require additional in-basin storage supplies to service customers while maintaining healthy flows in the Eagle River. The Bolts Lake site was selected because of its proximity to Cross Creek and the Eagle River, its location on private property, and its previous use as a reservoir. 

In 1890, Ben Bolt developed the reservoir for recreational purposes by diverting water from Cross Creek into a natural basin. The reservoir has been inactive since 1996, when the dam was breached by order of Colorado’s State Engineer due to safety concerns. ERWSD and UERWA purchased the reservoir property in 2022 and began working on design and permitting of the reservoir. 

Conceptual cost estimates for the reservoir range from $75 to $100 million with an estimated rate impact of $15 to $20/month per single-family equivalent. ERWSD is pursuing grant funding opportunities to minimize the financial burden on ratepayers. 


Project Benefits 

  • Creates a new source of in-basin water supply without damming the Eagle River 

  • Contributes to creation of strategic reserve to mitigate against the impacts of a warming climate 

  • Provides additional water supply to serve workforce housing projects and other community land use priorities 

  • Protects minimum stream flows in the Eagle River during drought and critical low flow periods 

  • Creates new recreational opportunities including fishing, non-motorized boating and paddleboarding 

  • Furthers remediation of the adjacent Eagle Mine Superfund site by capping former tailings piles with excess soil from the reservoir excavation  


Estimated Timeline 

  • Spring 2024: Complete Preliminary Design 

  • 2024 – 2025: National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Permitting and Design Development 

  • 2026: Final Design, State and Local Permitting, and Construction Financing 

  • 2027 – 2029: Construction (3 years) 

  • 2030: Reservoir Operational 


Project Updates