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Selection of reservoir site

Types of Dams - Site Selection of Dam - Civil Engineering Notes

Before finally selecting the reservoir site following factors should be seriously considered.

  1. Catchment area should have such geological conditions that percolation and absorption losses are minimum.
  2. Available run-off should be maximum.
  3. The site should be free from fissured rocks.
  4. This will avoid possibilities of leakage when reservoir is full to capacity.
  5. The reservoir site must have adequate capacity.
  6. The reservoir basin should have a deep narrow opening in the valley so that the length of the dam may be kept minimum.
  7. Heavily silt laden tributaries should not lead their discharge to the reservoir.
  8. Suitable site for dam should be available.
  9. It will be an ideal site if dam is constructed atthe narrow and shallow part of the river which lies down stream of the deep river.
  10. It is very important point as cost of dam is often a controlling factor in selection of the reservoirs site.
  11. Site should be such that deep reservoir is formed.
  12. Deep reservoir would store more of water and expose minimum area at the surface for evaporation.
  13. If earthen dam is propose to be construct, then separate suitable site for spillway works should be available.
  14. Reservoir site should be well connecte by rail and road.
  15. Materials for the construction of dam should be available nearby.
  16. The soil formation at reservoir site should be free from harmful salts.
  17. If reservoir water is to be use for irrigation, the dam site should be near the area propose to be irrigate.
  18. This would reduce the length of the canal system and consequently the cost of the project.
  19. Reservoir should not submerge habited area or areas of fertile lands or gardens.
  20. River banks should be hard, strong and high so that cost on river training works is minimum.

Trail Run Little River State Park

Three friends who love trail running together were given the gift of the ultimate project by the Vermont State Parks Director—to trail run in as many beautiful state parks as we can, write interesting blog entries about our experiences, and take photos of our sparkling smiles while we do it. Yes, life really does get better all the time.https://mapsengine.google.com/map/embed?mid=z2N3KHkVM-Vo.k-PYWsgj838M

After several intense meetings in the middle of our cubicle maze workspace, we decided to start with Little River State Park in Waterbury.

Little River is a popular park with two camping loops and two beaches on a clear, refreshing, sandy-bottomed Waterbury Reservoir. Thousands of people spend time in their sleeping bags, in front of campfires, and paddling around the reservoir during the summer and fall. Few people dig into the miles and miles of trails full of history and natural beauty on the other side of the park.

Running trails in Little River is a journey through time. The miles of stone walls, cemeteries, cellar holes and orchards give evidence of life one hundred years ago. The pioneers cleared the fields and roads of rocks and stumps without the aid of machinery. The younger generations were not as prone to such laborious work and abandoned their farms, leaving them for the forest to reclaim. This seemed like the perfect spot to explore on our first state park trail running adventure together.

Running at Little River State Park
The gang plans their route

Jay, Steve, and I invited our friend Matt, who is training for the Vermont 100 trail race later this summer—Matt is preparing by running twice a day and running at every hour of the day. Yes, we have really fun and interesting friends. The four of us took off after work and parked at the Dalley Loop trailhead parking lot on the way to campground loop B in Little River.

You can access the whole network of trails from this starting point; we decided to make a loop starting with a section of the Hedgehog Loop Trail. We set out at about 6:00 pm, the skies were getting dark with the threat of raindrops, but none fell on us. The sky was constantly changing during our two-hour adventure, with bright spots of sunlight surprising us by sporadically illuminating the fresh green leaves, and dark purple clouds folding over each other in viewpoints along the way.http://www.youtube.com/embed/JBi5ppidm00

Of course, we had wonderful company in each other, there were lots of great jokes and storytelling, but there is so much to entertain you out there if you go on a solo adventure or if your company is not as lively as ours. There is so much history in the Little River and Cottonwood Brook basin, there are interpretive panels along many of the trails so you can stop for a snack and read about the people who used to live there (we did that) and you can enjoy Vermont natural history at its best. Some of the things we saw and heard included a pink lady slipper flower, Barred Owls making territorial calls, Ruffed Grouse drumming (and we spooked one off its roost), foam flowers, Canada mayflowers, and Veeries singing songs like waterfalls during the last few downhill miles.

You might notice something left out of that list, biting insects. I think we maybe saw one mosquito during the whole run. We even loitered in the parking lot afterward and there were no blackflies. We don’t know how long these conditions will last, but right now it’s definitely a good time to go trail running at Little River if you don’t like bug bites!

From Hedgehog Hill Trail we turned on Cotton Brook Loop Trail. This was a nice climb out of the Stephenson Brook drainage into the Cotton Brook area. The trail has the feel of an old tote road combined with a single-track because there is a narrow path through the bushy mass of several years of growth. It gives you the feeling of being in an area not heavily visited, like a secret stash of running trails.

We were trying to make a loop by turning left at the Bragg homestead to cut over to the Dalley Loop Trail, but we never saw that intersection. We overshot that and ran to a nice solid bridge over Cotton Brook. We admired that rippling stream and then turned around and ran to the Kelty Trail, which also connects to Dalley Loop.

One of the great things about trail running is the adventure, you usually do not know exactly how things will turn out but you always end up having fun and you always end up somewhere really cool. Steve packed a map to make sure we did not get completely turned around, which I recommend. You can pick up a map at the park office.

The Kelty stretch was wetter and not heavily traveled; still, it was easy footing (all the trails we ran had easy footing). Ferns were everywhere around us, everything vibrant, bright green even in the low light. Lots of ghost stories come out of this area because the hillside is dotted with house foundations from people who all moved out with the advent of the Waterbury Reservoir. Being way out in the quiet woods surrounded by signs of people who used to live there, with the skies darkening, I can understand how easy it is to get your imagination going. I am not going to lie to you, I ran very, very close to Steve during the Kelty crossover! It was so quiet and felt very spooky in there, it was very thrilling.

Once we hit the Dalley Loop, we turned right and ran the rest of the loop counter-clockwise. Our run ended with a nice smooth downhill back to the trailhead. After nine miles and two hours, we toasted with cans of Baxter Brewing Company IPA courtesy of Steve. That was a fitting conclusion to a really fun trail run with good friends.

Little River Trail Run Photo Gallery >>

Read additional trail running stories:

Waterbury Reservoir’s future could be at risk

The Waterbury Reservoir’s many swimming and boating possibilities drew 42,000 people this summer to the state park. Photo by Gordon Miller/Stowe Reporter

An argument about how to run the flood-control dam that creates the reservoir could lead to a decision to stop filling up the reservoir for summertime use.

And the reservoir gets a ton of summertime use. It is the centerpiece of Waterbury Center State Park, which is wrapping up a record-breaking season. This summer, more than 42,000 visitors have enjoyed swimming, boating, picnicking and hiking through the park, not to mention the naturalist programs that the park enables.

The reservoir’s future revolves around a new license for Green Mountain Power’s hydropower plant at the base of the flood-control dam. The utility has operated the hydro plant since 1953, but its license lapsed nearly two decades ago. Now, the company is seeking a new license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

In addition, a permit is required from the watershed management division within the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

Permit questions like these involve a balancing of hydropower benefits and environmental concerns.

The state agency will look at “everything from the effects on habitats, overall water quality, water temperatures, sediment levels as well as how the water flows and what happens to water downstream,” said Jeff Crocker, a river ecologist with the watershed division.

Those concerns also involve the effects on fish and other wildlife from raising and lowering the reservoir’s level season by season.

Now, the reservoir is drawn down to 562 feet above sea level in the winter, making room for the spring runoff that, except for the Waterbury dam, could cause flooding. The drawdown shrinks the surface area of the reservoir by 40 percent.

This is what the Waterbury Reservoir looked like for seven years after it was drained in 2000 for dam construction work. The 850-acre summer swimming and boating center all but vanished. Photo by Gordon Miller/Stowe Reporter

Once the runoff ends, the reservoir level is increased to 589 feet above sea level, creating the swimming-boating mecca at the state park.

The watershed division is concerned that the lowering and raising of water levels does not meet current water standards, said Bill Shepeluk, Waterbury’s municipal manager.

If the decision is to keep water levels low, then recreation at the reservoir would come to an end.

Shepeluk suspects state and federal officials have no idea of the furor that the reservoir debate will cause.

“This is a big issue to Waterbury residents, and people will be surprised at how passionate everyone feels about these things,” he predicted.

The community will have a chance to weigh in on the situation at a meeting tentatively scheduled for Oct. 7 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Thatcher Brook Primary School.

Competing interests

The Waterbury dam was finished in 1938 to prevent the kind of flooding that devastated Waterbury and other Vermont communities in 1927.

The dam holds back the water from the Little River, which flows south from Stowe toward the Winooski River. The Little River carries the runoff from the Stowe valley, including massive winter snowmelt from Mount Mansfield and the western side of the Worcester mountain range.

Once the reservoir was created, fish, loons and other flora and fauna made it their home.

Waterbury has already had a seven-year taste of what life would be like without the reservoir. In 2000, the reservoir was drained so construction workers could shore up the dam; the job took seven years and $24 million.

Shepeluk said Green Mountain Power tends to keep the summertime water level as close to 589 feet above sea level as possible, with a 1-foot leeway up or down. It uses that 2-foot range to generate electricity.

“These 2 feet of fluctuations don’t cause tremendous problems, but they can have a significant effect on water quality,” Shepeluk said.

The watershed division would prefer a permit that says the reservoir depth can’t flucuate up and down, Shepeluk said. Ultimately, it would like the water level to remain low, close to the normal wintertime level, he said.

If the water level is low, Green Mountain Power can still produce electricity from the Little River’s flow. But the hydropower would be less reliable. Now, adjusting the reservoir height ensures a steady flow of water through Green Mountain Power’s turbine, but a shrunken reservoir would make the hydropower dependent on the weather — similar to the utility’s other river-run facilities across the state.

Another option is to keep the reservoir even lower, near 550 feet above sea level — a 39-foot reduction in the normal summertime depth.

In this balancing of competing interests, Shepeluk said the hydropower plant, the environment and recreation could all be losers.

“We will be looking at solutions to allow all the stakeholders to get what they want,” he said.

While Crocker wouldn’t comment in detail, he said “there’s a possibility of changes to the recreation proportions of things but the opportunity would still exist. The parks may have to be redesigned.”

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