The Uintah Basin Replacement Project (UBRP) is located in Duchesne County near the towns of Altamont, Upalco, and Roosevelt, within the Uinta Basin of northeastern Utah. The project was authorized by the Central Utah Project Completion Act, as a partial replacement for the water development planned under the Uintah and Upalco Units, which were never built.
The Uintah Basin Replacement Project is intended to serve several purposes including: stabilizing 13 high mountain lakes on the Lake Fork River drainage in the High Uintas Wilderness Area and restoring associated ecological values, providing replacement water for the early and late season irrigation water stored in the High Mountain Lakes, providing municipal and industrial water to Roosevelt City, facilitating improved water resources management and water conservation in the Uintah Basin, and enhancement of beneficial use and environmental, fish, wildlife, and recreation resources.
The project purposes are being accomplished through the High Mountain Lake stabilization, construction of the new Big Sand Wash Feeder Diversion Structure and Pipeline, reconstruction and enlargement of the existing Big Sand Wash Reservoir, and construction of a new Big Sand Wash-to-Roosevelt municipal water pipeline.
Original construction of Big Sand Wash Reservoir, an existing “off-stream” reservoir located in the Uintah Basin approximately 18 miles west of Roosevelt, was completed in 1964. Construction to increase the height of the dam by 26 feet was completed in June 2007, increasing the active reservoir storage capacity from 12,100 acre-feet to 24,100 acre feet in order to receive 6,500 acre-feet of irrigation water formerly stored in high mountain lakes in the High Uintas Wilderness Area. Surface area of the reservoir was increased from 393 acres to 650 acres. The enlarged reservoir is filled from the flows of the Lake Fork River via the new 4.3 mile long, Big Sand Wash Feeder Diversion and Pipeline with a diversion capacity of 70 cfs. An existing canal, the “C” canal, would also continue to deliver flows to Big Sand Wash. Reservoir.
The increased capacity of the reservoir provides irrigators the ability to more adequately distribute runoff from the Uinta Mountains on a schedule that better matches the consumptive use of their crops.
The new Roosevelt City water pipeline will convey municipal and industrial water approximately 15 miles from Big Sand Wash Reservoir to the city of Roosevelt via a 30 inch pipe having a flow capacity of 35 cfs.
Environmental mitigation measures include modifying the Moon Lake outlet works to provide a year-round minimum flow for fisheries enhancement on the Lake Fork River. Thirteen high mountain lakes within the High Uintas Wilderness Area, which formerly held irrigation water now transferred to the enlarged Big Sand Wash Reservoir, have been reconstructed and stabilized to near natural elevations to improve wilderness values and sport fishing benefits. Stabilization involved lowering the dam embankment to a safe elevation and removing or plugging the existing outlet works. Finally, wetlands sufficient to offset and replace similar habitats lost by project construction have been constructed and are operated by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources at their Montes Creek State Wildlife Management Area.