Hydroelectric Power Generation
The story is not one of stopping a free-flowing river, it is something quite unique and inspiring. It is the epitome of ingenuity, foresight, and versatile utility. The Vallecito earthen dam was built in 1940 in Southwesten Colorado. Originally built to impound over 125,000 acre feet of water for irrigation water storage. The Civilian Conservation Corps transferred management to the Pine River Irrigation District to manage the outflows for farms and ranches downstream.
In 1990 Obermeyer proposed retrofitting the existing dam with three micro-turbines generating electricity and offer revenue sharing with the irrigation district. In 1991 Obermeyer installed the turbines that supply clean, renewable energy to more than 7,000 homes.
For over thirty years the Vallecito reservoir has provided recreation activities, irrigation water storage and maintenance-free energy production for Southwestern Colorado.