Crystal Dam


Crystal Dam is located 6 miles downstream from Morrow Point Dam and approximately 20 miles east of Montrose, Colorado. The dam is a double-curvature thin-arch type, 323 feet high, with a crest length of 620 feet, and a volume of 154,400 cubic yards of materials.

The spillway consists of an ungated ogee crest on the right side of the dam and a plunge pool at the toe of the dam. The crest is at an elevation of 6,756.0 feet, 1 foot above normal water surface. The plunge pool is unlined except for a downstream retaining wall to contain the river fill material.

Water is conveyed from the reservoir to the hydraulic turbine by an 11.5-foot-diameter concrete penstock, the lower portion of which is steel lined. The intake structure consists of a metal trashrack, a 10.58- by 17.27-foot bulkhead gate, an 8.33- by 13.58-foot fixed-wheel gate, and a transition. The fixed-wheel gate is provided for emergency closure and for inspection and maintenance of the penstock. Water from the turbine exits through the draft tube to the tailrace.

The river outlets consist of an intake structure on the upstream face of the dam and two 54-inch pipes through the dam and powerplant. The 54-inch ring-follower emergency gates and 48-inch jet-flow regulating gates in the powerplant control outlet flows. The intake structure includes a metal trashrack, a concrete arch conduit to convey water to the 54-inch pipes, and provisions for installing a bulkhead gate. The Morrow Point Dam river outlet bulkhead gate can be used to close off the outlet pipes for inspection or maintenance.

The reservoir has a total capacity of 25,236 acre-feet and an active capacity of 12,891 acre-feet at an elevation of 6,700 ft, with a surface area of 301 acres.

The powerplant, completed in 1978, has a generating capacity of 28,000 kilowatts from one unit driven by a 39,000-horsepower hydraulic turbine. It is connected to the main CRSP transmission system at the Curecanti substation by a 115-kilovolt line. 


Foundation: Precambrian metamorphic rocks intruded by pegmatite dikes.

RegionFacilities in Upper Colorado | Upper Colorado Home Page
ProjectColorado River Storage
Dam Type
WatercourseGunnison River
Net Generation137,950,098 kWh
Original Construction1972-1977
Modified Construction
National ID NumberCO00387
Hydrologic Unit Code

Structural Height323 ft
Hydraulic Height (Normal Operating Depth at Dam)209 ft
Top Parapet (Elevation)
Spillway Crest Elevation
Crest Elevation6772.0 ft
Crest Length620 ft
Crest Width10 ft
Base Width29 ft
Volume of Dam Construction Materials154,400 cu yd
Streambed at Dam Axis6547.0 ft
Top of Exclusive Flood Control Pool (Elevation)
Top of Joint Use Pool (Elevation)
Top of Active Conservation Pool (Elevation)6755.o ft
Top of Inactive Conservation Pool (Elevation)6700.0 ft
Top of Dead Storage Pool (Elevation)6670.0 ft

Hydraulics & Hydrology
Total Water Storage at Elevation26000 acre-ft at 6755
Maximum Water Surface Elevation6756.0 ft
Normal Water Surface Elevation
Spillway Type
Auxiliary Spillway
Spillway Capacity at Elevation
Auxiliary Spillway Capacity at Elevation
Uncontrolled Spillway Capacity at Elevation
Outlet Works Capacity at Elevation
Diversion Capacity at Elevation
Drainage Area3970 sq mi
Hydrometeorological Report (HMR)49
Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) Report

Contact Information
Title Western Colorado Area Office - Grand Junction
Organization Western Colorado Area Office
Address 445 W. Gunnison Ave., Suite 221 
City Grand Junction, CO 81501
Phone (Office) 970 248-0600
OrganizationCurecanti Field Division
Address1820 South Rio Grande Ave.
CityMontrose, CO 81401
Phone (Office)970-240-6306

Last updated: Feb 20, 2009