Created by Fontenelle Dam, a 139-foot earthfill dam, Fontenelle Reservoir has a storage capacity of 345,000 acre-feet at full capacity. Although it was initially created to provide Green River water for irrigation, this unit of the Colorado River Storage Project now primarily serves as a storage reservoir.
In November 2021, the Wyoming Legislature’s Select Water Committee began drafting a stand-alone bill that would fund new dam, reservoir and irrigation projects. If passed, the bill would allocate $25 million to reinforcing Fontenelle Dam to increase its usable capacity.
This would not be the first dam reinforcement project conducted on Fontenelle Dam. In 1965, a significant leak prompted an emergency release of water to prevent the dam from failing. The release flooded downstream areas and damaged homes. In 1985, an evaluation determined that the dam was notably distressed and an emergency drawdown drained the entire reservoir. Both episodes prompted repairs and new construction.
- Angus M. Thuermer Jr., “Water agency seeks $281 million for dams, domestic supply, other projects,” WyoFile, November 16, 2021.
- Angus M. Thuermer Jr., “Wyo looks to store, divert more water as Lake Powell dries up,” WyoFile, July 27, 2021.
- Christine Peterson, “Fisheries experts urge caution as temperatures rise,” Casper Star-Tribune, July 9, 2021. “Fontenelle Dam’s inflows projected to be 7th driest since 1966,” Sweetwater Now, June 9, 2021.
|Location||Fontenelle Dam, Wyoming (map)|
|Credit||Ted Wood/The Water Desk|
|Rights||Free to reuse under Creative Commons license.|
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