The $11 million Southside Diversion Dam Improvements Project is aimed at increasing safety and enhancing recreational opportunities on the Arkansas River in Pueblo.
The river spills over a small dam near Pueblo’s City Park year-round. Due to the strong current, it’s been the site of multiple deaths over the years, despite warning signage.
The project would replace the structure with gradual navigable drops, according to Pueblo Water. The end result would likely open up about eight miles of the river to rafting, tubing and more from Pueblo Reservoir to the existing whitewater park near downtown.
The utility also says the project will help create a fish passage for migration and make for better overall river health, as well as adding redundancy to local water infrastructure.
Funding sources include a low-interest Colorado Water Conservation Board loan and support from the city, county and the Pueblo Conservancy District, which manages the levee.
A Pueblo Water spokesman said they do not expect the project to affect residents’ water bills. The utility hopes to begin construction this fall and finish work by summer of next year.
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