McPhee Dam

McPhee Dam, located on the Dolores River, is a rolled earth, sand, gravel, and rockfill structure with a volume of approximately 6,230,000 cubic yards. The crest of the dam is 270 feet high above streambed, 1,300 feet in length, and 30 feet wide. A gated spillway located in the right abutment includes a concrete chute leading to a stilling basin. The outlet works, located in the left abutment of the dam, has two separate intake structures, and a total capacity of 5,000 cubic feet per second.

Great Cut Dike is a rolled earthfill structure with a crest length of 1,900 feet, and crest width of 30 feet. It has a maximum height of 64 feet above original ground surface. The embankment has a volume of about 189,000 cubic yards.

McPhee Reservoir was created with the construction of McPhee Dam and the Great Cut Dike in a saddle on the Dolores-San Juan Divide. The reservoir has a total capacity of 381,195 acre-feet, including 229,200 acre-feet of active capacity, 151,900 acre-feet of inactive capacity, and 95 acre-feet of dead storage. The water surface area totals 4,470 acres at the top of the active capacity at an elevation of 6924.0 feet. The reservoir extends approximately 10 miles up the Dolores River, 4 miles up Beaver Creek, 1 mile up Dry Creek, 2 miles up House Creek, and 2 miles up the Great Cut saddle to the dike.

RegionFacilities in Upper Colorado | Upper Colorado Home Page
Dam Type
Net Generation4,292,835 kWh
Original Construction1983-1984
Modified Construction
National ID NumberCO82915
Hydrologic Unit Code

Structural Height295.0 ft
Hydraulic Height (Normal Operating Depth at Dam)262.0 ft
Top Parapet (Elevation)
Spillway Crest Elevation6897.0 ft
Crest Elevation6936.0 ft
Crest Length1370.0 ft
Crest Width
Base Width
Volume of Dam Construction Materials
Streambed at Dam Axis6666.0 ft
Top of Exclusive Flood Control Pool (Elevation)
Top of Joint Use Pool (Elevation)
Top of Active Conservation Pool (Elevation)6924.0 ft
Top of Inactive Conservation Pool (Elevation)6855.0 ft
Top of Dead Storage Pool (Elevation)6676.0 ft

Hydraulics & Hydrology
Total Water Storage at Elevation
Maximum Water Surface Elevation
Normal Water Surface Elevation6924.0 ft
Spillway Type
Auxiliary SpillwayNo
Spillway Capacity at Elevation33300 cfs at 6928.0 ft
Auxiliary Spillway Capacity at Elevation
Uncontrolled Spillway Capacity at Elevation
Outlet Works Capacity at Elevation5275.0 cfs at 6928.0 ft
Diversion Capacity at Elevation
Drainage Area809.0 sq mi
Hydrometeorological Report (HMR)
Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) Report

Contact Information
Title Area Office Manager
Organization Western Colorado Area Office - Durango
Address 185 Suttle Street, Suite 2
City Grand Junction, CO 81303
Phone (Office) 970 385-6500
OrganizationDolores Water Conservancy District
Address60 South Cactus Street, PO Box 1150
CityCortez, CO 81321
Phone (Office)970 565-7562

Last updated: Mar 12, 2009