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Southside Diversion Dam project moving forward

May 23, 2023

Pueblo Water is expected to begin construction this fall on a project that will improve safety on the Arkansas River in the city by creating a passageway that would allow users to ride the river unimpeded.

By rehabilitating the Southside Diversion Dam and Raw Water Intake facility just north of City Park, and by improving the surrounding areas, river users will be able to traverse the Arkansas River from below Pueblo Dam all the way to near Runyon Lake.

“This is a tremendous quality-of-life project – to have that entire reach of the river navigable,” Pueblo Water Executive Director Seth Clayton said. “This is something that Puebloans and visitors alike would enjoy for years to come.”

Project objectives include:

  • Making this reach of the Arkansas River safer
  • Allowing the river to become fully navigable from below Pueblo Dam to near Runyon Lake
  • Creating a fish passage for migration
  • Providing additional recreational opportunities
  • Creating overall better river health
  • Keeping Pueblo Water’s redundant southside intake functional and allowing water to the Riverside Dairy Ditch

Pueblo Water’s primary driver for the project is the safety of the community. The Southside Diversion Dam has been the site of multiple accidents and fatalities through the years.

Modifying the diversion dam, an area that currently is unnavigable, would help minimize risks and hazards for those in-stream river users and on-land visitors as well. At the same time, the rehabilitated area would allow users to ride the river without stopping.

Construction on the estimated $11 million project is expected to begin in September, with commissioning estimated in the summer of 2024. Pueblo Water is paying for most of the cost. The City of Pueblo, Pueblo County and the Conservancy District also have committed financially.

The project timeline (estimated):

·        June 2, 2023 - Request for qualifications

·        June 30, 2023 - Request for proposals

·        Aug. 15, 2023 - Approval of contract by Pueblo Water's Board of Directors

·        Sept. 1, 2023 - Begin construction

·        July 2024 - Commissioning

Photo by Mike Sweeney/
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