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August 10, 2021

Boulder County Asks Court to Dismiss Gross Reservoir Expansion Lawsuit

Boulder County says its previous win in state court is controlling

Boulder County, Colo. – In July of 2021, Denver Water filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to stop Boulder County from reviewing Denver Water’s planned expansion of the Gross Dam & Reservoir. The lawsuit alleges that the county does not have the authority to regulate the project because the project requires a permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

In an August 10 motion, Boulder County asks the court to dismiss the lawsuit because Denver Water lost a state court case seeking to stop county review of the project. A Boulder District Court judge ruled in 2019 that the reservoir expansion “is subject to Boulder County’s permitting authority and regulation process.” Denver Water appealed the ruling, but later dropped the appeal.

According to the county’s motion, “Denver lost its state court lawsuit, and it is not entitled to a rematch.”


In September of 2020, Denver Water submitted an Areas and Activities of State Interest (1041) application to Boulder County Community Planning & Permitting (CPP). On June 29, 2021 the CPP Director determined the 1041 review would move to public hearings. After filing its federal court lawsuit, Denver Water’s attorney requested the CPP Director place the application on hold, and CPP Director Dale Case granted the request.

The Areas and Activities of State Interest (1041) application for the expansion of Gross Dam and Reservoir is a request to store an additional 77,000 acre-feet total of water, which includes increasing the dam height by approximately 131 feet, the dam length by approximately 790 feet, and the spillway elevation by approximately 126 feet; quarry operations to obtain aggregate required for construction; construction of a temporary concrete batch/production plant and an aggregate processing plant; permanent road improvements to Gross Dam Road from State Highway 72 to the Gross Reservoir; temporary road improvements to FS359 (Winiger Ridge Road) and FS97 (Lazy Z Road); and the relocation of the Miramonte Multi-Use Trail.

View more information on the Docket SI-20-0003: Gross Reservoir & Dam Expansion webpage.