Morrow Point Dam


Morrow Point Dam, 12 miles downstream from Blue Mesa Dam, is Reclamation`s first thin-arch, double-curvature dam. It is 468 feet high, 52 feet thick at the base, and 12 feet thick at the crest. The dam has a crest length of 720 feet and a volume of 360,000 cubic yards of concrete.

The spillway consists of four orifice-type openings in the top central part of the dam, providing a free-fall discharge higher than 350 feet to the concrete stilling basin at the toe of the dam. Each of the four spillway openings is controlled by a 15- by 16.83-foot fixed-wheel gate. Maximum capacity of the spillway is 41,000 cubic feet per second.

The outlet works consists of one stainless-steel lined 4-foot-square conduit through the dam. Control is by two 3.5-square-foot slide gates. Discharge capacity of the outlet works is 1,500 cubic feet per second.

Reservoir capacity behind Morrow Point Dam is 117,190 acre-feet at maximum water surface. The active capacity is 42,120 acre-feet. Surface area for Morrow Point Reservoir is 817 acres at an elevation of 7,160.0 ft.

The powerplant chamber is tunneled into the canyon wall in the left abutment about 400 feet below the ground surface. The powerplant chamber is 231 feet long and 57 feet wide with a height ranging from 65 to 134 feet. There are two 60,000-kilowatt generators driven by two 83,000-horsepower turbines. The power penstocks consist of 13.5-foot-diameter steel liners in 18-foot-diameter tunnels.


The dam is located in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River, a 2,460-foot-deep gorge carved into folded precambrian metamorphic and igneous rock. The foundation is entirely quartzite and mica schist that are cut by granite pegmatite dikes, shears, and joints. The Cimarron fault is approximately 1 km from the dam.

RegionFacilities in Upper Colorado | Upper Colorado Home Page
ProjectColorado River Storage
Dam Type Double-curvature, thin arch concrete
ReservoirMorrow Point
WatercourseGunnison River
Net Generation269,193,371 kWh
Original Construction1963-1968
Modified Construction1970
National ID NumberCO01689
Hydrologic Unit Code

Structural Height468 ft
Hydraulic Height (Normal Operating Depth at Dam)413 ft
Top Parapet (Elevation)
Spillway Crest Elevation
Crest Elevation7165.0 ft
Crest Length724 ft
Crest Width12 ft
Base Width52 ft
Volume of Dam Construction Materials365180 cu yd
Streambed at Dam Axis
Top of Exclusive Flood Control Pool (Elevation)
Top of Joint Use Pool (Elevation)
Top of Active Conservation Pool (Elevation)7160.00 ft
Top of Inactive Conservation Pool (Elevation)7100.00 ft
Top of Dead Storage Pool (Elevation)6808.0 ft

Hydraulics & Hydrology
Total Water Storage at Elevation117190 acre-ft at 7160
Maximum Water Surface Elevation7160.0 ft
Normal Water Surface Elevation
Spillway Type
Auxiliary Spillway
Spillway Capacity at Elevation41000 cfs at 7165 ft
Auxiliary Spillway Capacity at Elevation
Uncontrolled Spillway Capacity at Elevation
Outlet Works Capacity at Elevation1500 cfs at 7165 ft
Diversion Capacity at Elevation
Drainage Area3675 sq mi
Hydrometeorological Report (HMR)HMR 49
Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) Report1994 June General Storm

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

Last updated: Mar 26, 2009