Tacoma Hydroelectric Project Description

The Tacoma Hydroelectric Project is located about 20 miles north of Durango, Colorado on a high intermountain plateau west of the Animas River in La Plata and San Juan Counties. The project was constructed in 1905 and 1906. Water for operation of the facilities originates from three drainage basins: Cascade Creek, Little Cascade Creek, and Elbert Creek. The main water storage reservoir is Electra Lake. For a more detailed description download the Tacoma Hydroelectric Project: Description of Project Features.

The Cascade Creek diversion facilities provide the major water supply component for the Tacoma Project. These facilities consist of a diversion dam on Cascade Creek, an elevated wooden flume, and a steel inverted siphon crossing Cascade Creek. These facilities are all located on United States Forest Service lands while an additional steel pipeline crosses primarily private property including Cascade Village and Durango Mountain Resort developments.

Water from Cascade Creek is diverted and transported through the Cascade Creek diversion facilities and is released into Little Cascade Creek. This open channel carries water across primarily private property to Aspaas Lake. The water is then diverted by the Aspaas Dam into Electra Lake which is formed by Terminal Dam on the main channel of Elbert Creek. An 11,400 foot long steel pipeline (penstock) extends from Electra Lake to the Tacoma powerhouse.

The Tacoma Powerhouse

The Tacoma Powerhouse contains three generating units with a total generating capacity if 8 megawatts (MW). Normal access to the powerhouse is via the Durango-Silverton narrow-gauge railroad.

Project Dams

The four dams included in the Tacoma Hydroelectric Project are:

  • Cascade Creek Diversion Dam

  • Aspaas Dam

  • Stagecoach Dam

  • Terminal Dam

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