Hydroelectric Power

Pueblo Dam Hydroelectric Project

Pueblo, Colorado

The Southeastern District is constructing a hydroelectric generation plant at Pueblo Dam. Operations are expected to begin in the spring of 2018, and will provide the District’s Enterprise Activity with a new revenue stream when it is completed. The plant is the first hydroelectric feature added to the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project since the completion of the Mount Elbert pump-back hydroelectric plant at Twin Lakes.in 1981.

Project History 

Hydroelectric power is generated by falling water rushing through turbines. No water is consumed during the generation of electricity. The district will connect to a pipeline build for the SouthernHydro News release Delivery System at the North Outlet. That pipeline, like Pueblo Dam, is owned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Reclamation granted the District a Lease of Power Privilege in 2017, following a planning and permit process that began in 2011. Colorado Springs Utilities and the Pueblo Board of Water Works were originally partners, but the project is being solely undertaken by the District.

Project Description 

The proposed 7.5 megawatt (MW) facility will be able to generate electricity at flows ranging from 35-810 cubic feet per second. A powerhouse will use the Dam’s authorized released to the Arkansas River to generate an annual average 28 million kilowatt hours (kWh) and approximately $1,500,000 in average revenue per year. The project’s total capital cost is estimated to be $19.5 million, which includes a $17.2 million loan from the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Revenues from the hydro plant will repay the District’s Enterprise Activity and the CWCB.

Project Use

The City of Fountain and by Colorado Springs Utilities (for use at Fort Carson) will purchase the power generated. After 10 years, Fountain will purchase all of the power generated by the plant for the following 20 years. These utilities are looking for ways to broaden their energy portfolios to include clean, renewable energy.

Project Update

Project Update (January 4, 2018) - Work continues on the Hydroelectric Project in the new year as crews under the direction of Mountain States Hydro LLC pour a concrete foundation for the powerhouse. A coffer dam and dewatering system have been constructed around the work site to assure safety during construction and to minimize the impact on the Arkansas River. Construction within the river channel is expected to be completed by the end of March, and the plant should become operational later this year. 


Project Documents



  • Preliminary LoPP Granted: February 2012

  • Feasibility Study Updated: March 2014

  • Preliminary Design Complete: July 2014

  • Execution of Final LoPP: April 2017

  • Final Design Complete: June 2016

  • Construction Contract Award: August 2017

  • Three Week Look Ahead Schedule
  • Construction Complete: December 2018

  • Commissioning: December 2018

Interior of Pumphouse Preparing for concrete pours
Removing coffer dam Exterior of pumphouse


For More Information Contact: 

Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District
31717 United Avenue
Pueblo, CO  81001
Phone: 719-948-2400
email: kevin@secwcd.com