Chatfield Reservoir is a flood-control reservoir on the South Platte River owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It was built in response to the devastating floods of 1965 and has the ability to store flood waters from the South Platte River and Plum Creek.
Denver Water uses its storage space in Chatfield to capture bypass flows it releases from Strontia Springs Reservoir, a few miles upstream of Chatfield. The bypass flows maintain the trout fishery in Waterton Canyon.
Denver Water uses the water it stores in Chatfield primarily for exchange, or trade, to upstream reservoirs. Water can be released from Chatfield to supply a senior agricultural water right downstream, in exchange for Denver Water diverting a like amount at its upstream reservoirs, such as Cheesman or Eleven Mile Canyon. This offers Denver Water the opportunity to store water for future delivery to treatment plants.
Looking for recreation information?
Although Denver Water stores water behind Chatfield Dam, we do not manage or maintain recreational services at the reservoir. The land at Chatfield is leased to the state, which operates Chatfield State Park. Contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife by email or at 303-791-7275.