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Renovations to a diversion dam in Laporte have been completed after years of waiting so that the dam will not be further damaged.
The diversion dates back to 1883, when ditch company New Mercer was diverting. However, the diversion was created for the city of Fort Collins. The diversion later was transferred to Larimer County Number 2 Irrigating Company in 1906.
“This structure has been there since 1907 and was damaged in the 2013 flood,” said Brent Bartlett, Partner, and Stockholder at Fischer, Brown, Bartlett & Gunn, PC in Fort Collins representing the Larimer County Number 2 Irrigating Company and New Mercer. “So, the riprap and debris coming down in that flood just battered the top of that existing structure, so they have been waiting and wanting to get in and repair that for years, and that’s the project that’s going on right now,” Brent said.
Brent’s law firm represents many water clients, municipalities, and districts, with its primary practice in water laws. He represents a number of the ditch companies who divert off of this structure. The structure has been in use the entire time since the damage was done from the 2013 floods, providing water to those ditch and reservoir companies.
The majority of the concrete structure base was in great shape after all this time, but the top part of the structure above the water line needed renovations. Larimer and Weld Irrigating Company share the million-dollar cost of the restoration and Little Cache as their boards rely on that water for all types of use, including municipal, agricultural, manufacturing, and more.
The structure will take on the full flow of the river and diversions as soon as the season begins around next month when the irrigation and ditch companies get calls from their stockholders to divert water.
“They are just finishing up, and the river will probably flow over it starting in a day or two,” said Rose Brinks, a resident who lives near the dam.