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Ogden River Project
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Ogden River Project History (43KB) (pdf)
General Description| Plan| Development| Benefits


General Description

The Ogden River Project, in north-central Utah near Ogden and Brigham City, furnishes an irrigation supply to almost 25,000 acres of land lying between the Wasatch Mountains and the Great Salt Lake, and a supplemental municipal water supply for the city of Ogden. Project features include Pineview Dam and Reservoir, the reconstructed Ogden Canyon Conduit, the Ogden-Brigham Canal, the South Ogden Highline Canal, and the gravity-pressure distribution system constructed for the South Ogden Conservation District.

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Water for project use is stored in Pineview Reservoir. Irrigation releases are made through one of the dam outlets into the Ogden Canyon Conduit. At a point 4.7 miles below the reservoir, 35 cubic feet per second of the conduit`s flow is diverted across the canyon through a suspended siphon to the head of the South Ogden Highline Canal. This canal conveys water to a 2,687 acre area lying along the east bench of Ogden below the canal and extending into the cities of South Ogden, Washington Terrace and Riverdale.

Approximately 0.25 mile north of the Ogden Canyon siphon diversion, the reconstructed Ogden Canyon Conduit terminates in a concrete and steel surge tank where the remaining 245 cubic feet per second of water is divided between valley and bench lands. Water for irrigation of valley lands is diverted through the Utah Power & Light penstock to their Pioneer Plant where it is used in their turbines to produce electricity. The water then flows through the discharge canal and is diverted to the several irrigation companies that deliver water to the valley users. The Ogden-Brigham Canal, extending from the surge tank approximately 24 miles to Brigham City, serves the higher lands adjacent to and below the canal. Distribution from the Ogden-Brigham Canal is made through facilities constructed by the Weber-Box Elder Conservation District and other private irrigation water user entities.

The artesian wells owned by Ogden City were capped and abandoned. The city drilled new wells on the point between middle inlet and north fork. They are now housed in concrete block buildings and flow along the north side of the dam to the treatment plant.

Facility Descriptions

Pineview Dam

Pineview Dam is located in the Ogden River Canyon about 7 miles east of Ogden, Utah. The dam is a zoned earthfill structure. It was originally constructed to a structural height of 103 feet, forming a reservoir of 44,175 acre-feet capacity. The capacity of the reservoir was later enlarged to 110,150 acre-feet by increasing the structural height of the dam to 137 feet as a part of the Weber Basin Project. The overflow, channel-type spillway, controlled by radial gates, has a capacity of 10,000 cubic feet per second. The crest of the dam, elevation 4,908.0 feet, is 30 feet wide, 600 feet long, and contains a total volume of 418,000 cubic yards of earth, rock, and riprap material. The overflow, channel-type spillway, controlled by radial gates, has a capacity of 10,000 cfs.

A 2,300 cubic foot per second capacity outlet works is located in a tunnel in the right abutment. It consists of a 72 inch pipe which leads into the 75 inch Ogden Canyon Conduit, and a 60 inch pipe which discharges into the spillway stilling basin. The 72 inch pipe has a wye which permits additional discharges into the stilling basin, and the 60 inch line has a 42 inch pipe connected to it to allow water to be delivered to the Ogden City filtration plant located downstream from the dam.

Water from the dam is transported 4.7 miles through the Ogden Canyon Conduit, jointly owned by the Ogden River Water Users Association and Utah Power & Light Company, to the two canals for distribution. Water for the South Ogden Highline Canal is conveyed across the canyon in a 360 foot long, 36 inch diameter steel siphon suspended from the canyon wall. The South Ogden Highline Canal has an initial capacity of 35 cubic feet per second and extends south 5.2 miles from the intersection. It is a gravity pressure distribution system, constructed for the delivery of water under gravity pressure and on demand from the South Ogden Highline Canal. The Ogden Brigham Canal has an initial capacity of 120 cubic feet per second and extends north on the east side of the project lands. These two canals convey water to the water users through privately owned laterals under the Ogden Brigham Canal and through project laterals under the South Ogden Highline Canal.

Operating Agencies

The project is operated by the Ogden River Water Users Association, except for the South Ogden distribution system, which is operated by the South Ogden Conservation District. The project works were formally turned over to the Ogden River Water Users Association for operation and maintenance on August 1, 1937.

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In 1850, three years after the settlement of Salt Lake City, Utah, the first diversions of water were made from the Ogden river to irrigate crops. Prior to 1900, 3,000 acres of land were irrigated from the Ogden River, either partially or fully. The fertile soil and the favorable climate made it possible to raise fruit and vegetables of excellent quality to supply the local market. However, as the diversions increased, the late summer natural flow was not sufficient to irrigate all of the developed land.


Stream gauging stations were established on the Ogden River by the Geological Survey in 1921. Shortly thereafter, an investigation for a storage reservoir was made by the Bureau of Reclamation, in cooperation with the Utah Water Storage Commission, which continued intermittently through 1932. This resulted in adopting the Pineview Reservoir site for the storage of approximately 38,000 acre-feet of water. Plans were later revised for a storage of 44,170 acre-feet. The present reservoir has a total capacity of 110,150 acre-feet.


The project was approved by the President on November 16, 1935, under terms of Section 4 of the Act of June 25, 1910 (36 Stat. 835) and Subsection B, Section 4, Act of December 5, 1924 (43 Stat. 701). An allotment of funds for construction was made on August 24, 1933, under the National Industrial Recovery Act of June 16, 1933, Section 203 (Public Law 57, 73rd Congress).


Construction by contract was started on September 29, 1934. Construction of the Pineview Dam and Ogden-Brigham Canal were completed in June 1937. The South Ogden Highline Canal and a distribution system consisting of 5.2 miles of concrete lined canal and a 35 mile pressure pipe system, were built during 1938-1941. Pineview Dam was enlarged to provide storage of 110,150 acre-feet as part of the Weber Basin Project.

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A full supply for irrigation can be furnished to 24,801 acres of land. The water supply has improved economic conditions in the area and has brought fertile land under cultivation. Principal crops are peaches, apples, apricots, vegetables, sugar beets, small grains, corn, and hay.

Recreation, Fish & Wildlife

Pineview Reservoir area is used extensively for camping, picnicking, swimming, boating, boat racing, water skiing, and fishing for trout, bass, and wall-eyed pike. Recreation facilities, greatly expanded under the Weber Basin Project development, are administered by the Forest Service. The number of public recreation visits in 1996 was 973,427.

Flood Control

Flood control regulations for Pineview Reservoir have been developed by the Bureau of Reclamation and approved and issued by the Corps of Engineers as a comprehensive plan for flood control operation of Weber Basin Reservoirs dated November 1966 and a subsequent report dated July 1971. The regulations provide that when water is stored within the flood control reservation of the reservoir, releases will be as rapidly as possible without exceeding damaging capacities of the downstream channel. Pineview Reservoir (http://www.usbr.gov/dataweb/dams/ut10132.htm) has a maximum flood control reservoir of 110,000 acre-feet and 18,000 acre-feet of capacity assigned to flood control.

The Ogden River has a safe channel capacity of 1,600 cfs below the dam. Releases shall be restricted, as much as possible, to limit flows so as not to exceed this channel capacity.

The Ogden Project has provided an accumulated $9,587,000 in flood control benefits from 1950 to 1999.

Hydroelectric Power

The Pineview Dam Hydroelectric Project was completed and began producting power June 1, 1991. The project was a joint venture between the Weber-Box Elder Conservation District and Bountiful City. The hydroelectric facility consists of one 2500 hp horizontal francis turbine with an 1800 kw synchronous generator. Water is diverted from the 75 inch Ogden Canyon Conduit through the facility and back into the conduit. It also has a river bypass where water can be diverted into the Ogden River. The operating flow range for the plant is between 120 and 300 cubic feet per second.

The powerplant capacity is 1,800 kW and is operated by Weber-Box Elder Conservancy district under FERC license number 4597.

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Last updated: May 11, 2011