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Reducing the impacts of a big expansion

See how Denver Water is addressing neighbors’ concerns about the Gross Reservoir Expansion Project.

Editor's note: The animation above was created prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The public information yurt is currently closed, but sign-ups for virtual meetings with project personnel are available at

Construction projects come with impacts, that’s a fact.

But there’s plenty that can be done to minimize those impacts, and there’s plenty Denver Water is planning to do — and has already done — to address concerns raised by neighbors who live near the Gross Reservoir Expansion Project.

The expansion project, about 12 miles southwest of Boulder in Coal Creek Canyon, has been in the planning and permitting stage for 17 years, offering the utility an extensive opportunity to listen to community suggestions about the project.

“The community has been great in sharing their concerns with us, concerns that we’ve taken to heart and worked hard to develop plans addressing them,” said Melissa Brasfield, Denver Water’s community liaison for the expansion project.

Worries raised by the community include viewshed, noise and traffic impacts during construction.

Watch the video above to see how Denver Water plans to address many of the concerns that have been raised.

The Gross Reservoir Expansion Project will raise the height of the existing dam, completed in 1954, by 131 feet, allowing the reservoir to nearly triple in size. When complete, the reservoir will be capable of holding about 119,000 acre-feet of water to provide greater balance and resiliency to Denver Water’s system.

Denver Water serves 1.5 million people in Denver and surrounding suburbs.

The project recently won final federal government approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Design work is slated to be complete by mid-2021, and construction is expected to take four years.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the utility had hosted a public information yurt near the caretakers’ offices at 3656 Gross Dam Road for three summers running.  Denver Water staff had also held office hours at a nearby coffee shop for people who want to drop in to catch up on the project’s status or comment on it.

Currently, virtual meetings are available in place of those in-person sessions. To schedule one, visit

If you’d like to be kept in the loop about project developments, updates and news, sign up for the Gross Reservoir Expansion Project newsletter, here.