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Strawberry Valley Project
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Strawberry Valley Project History (59 KB) (pdf)
General Description| Plan| Development| Benefits


General Description

The Strawberry Valley Project comprises about 45,000 irrigable acres centered around Spanish Fork, Utah. This project provided the first large-scale transmountain diversion from the Colorado River Basin to the Bonneville Basin. It also was one of the earliest Bureau of Reclamation projects to develop hydroelectric energy.

Original project features included Strawberry Dam and Reservoir, Indian Creek Dike, Strawberry Tunnel, two diversion dams, three power plants, a main canal system, and a portion of the lateral system. The remainder of the distribution system was privately constructed. Two of the power plants were constructed by the water users association.

Today, parts of the Strawberry Valley Project have been integrated into the Bonneville Unit of the Central Utah Project. In 1974, Strawberry Reservoir was enlarged by the construction of Soldier Creek Dam, located seven miles downstream from the old Strawberry Dam, to provide increased storage capacity. Water deliveries are now made through the Sixth Water Aqueduct and Syar Tunnel which has replaced the old Strawberry Tunnel.

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The irrigation water is diverted from the Colorado River Basin to the Bonneville Basin. Water is stored in Strawberry Reservoir on the Strawberry River, a tributary of the Green River. The stored water originally was diverted into Bonneville Basin through the 3.8-mile Strawberry Tunnel under the Wasatch Divide. The water is diverted at the Spanish Fork Diversion dam into the Strawberry Power Canal, which supplies the Springville-Mapleton Lateral to the north, the High Line Canal system to the south, the Upper and Lower Spanish Fork power plants, and the older privately built distribution system. Approximately 1,550 kilowatts of power are developed in three power plants on the project.

Facility Descriptions

Strawberry Dam

Strawberry Dam was on the Strawberry River about 29 miles southeast of Provo, Utah. It was an earthfill structure, 72 feet high, and contained 118,000 cubic yards of materials. Indian Creek Dike closed a saddle in the south end of the reservoir. The dike was 37 feet high and had a volume of 114,000 cubic yards.

Soldier Creek Dam

Soldier Creek Dam, completed in 1974 as part of the Bonneville Unit of the Central Utah Project, is 7 miles downstream from Strawberry Dam. The reservoir created by Soldier Creek Dam raised the water surface of Strawberry Reservoir by about 45 feet. The enlarged reservoir has a capacity of 1,106,500 acre-feet and a surface area of 17,163 acres.

Spanish Fork Diversion Dam and canal system

The Spanish Fork Diversion Dam has a concrete gravity ogee weir with a hydraulic height of 13 feet. The dam diverts Strawberry Reservoir releases into the Strawberry Power Canal, which supplies the Springville-Mapleton Lateral and the High Line Canal. The Power Canal extends 3.3 miles from the diversion dam to the Spanish Fork power plants. It has a diversion capacity of 500 cubic feet per second. The Springville-Mapleton Lateral branches from the Power Canal 2 miles below the diversion dam. The lateral is 6.75 miles long and has a diversion capacity of 100 cubic feet per second. The High Line Canal begins above the Spanish Fork power plants where the Power Canal ends, and extends 17.5 miles in a southwesterly direction. The diversion capacity is 300 cubic feet per second.

Water from these canals is distributed through privately constructed laterals.

Diversion Dams

Indian Creek Crossing Diversion
Indian Creek Dike Dam


The Upper Spanish Fork Powerplant, with two units, operates under a maximum head of 127 feet, and develops 900 kilowatts. The Lower Spanish Fork Powerplant has one unit operating under a maximum head of 45.2 feet and develops 250 kilowatts. The Payson Powerplant on Peteetneet Creek operates on a maximum head of 636 feet and develops 400 kilowatts. There are 269 miles of transmission and distribution lines to deliver the power to consumers.

The Upper Spanish Fork Powerplant was constructed by the Bureau of Reclamation, the other two power plants by the Strawberry Water Users Association, and transferred to the Bureau of Reclamation. All 3 power plants are operated by the Strawberry Water Users Association.

Operating Agencies

The Strawberry Water Users Association operates and maintains the project.

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Settlers began irrigating the lower part of the Utah Valley on the south side of the Spanish Fork River and the area adjacent to Utah Lake on the north side of the river prior to 1860. The low summer flow of the river limited development of the irrigable land, and the need for supplemental storage was evident long before 1900.


The first reconnaissance and preliminary surveys for supplemental storage and investigation of the irrigable lands by the United States began in 1903, making the project one of the earliest investigated under the Reclamation Act. Following the complete investigation, construction of the project was recommended by a board of engineers on October 2, 1905.


The project was authorized by the Secretary of the Interior on December 15, 1905, under the provisions of the Reclamation Act of 1902.


Excavation of the Strawberry Tunnel was started in 1906 and completed in 1912. Construction of the Spanish Fork Diversion Dam, Strawberry Power Canal, and Upper Spanish Fork Powerplant was completed in 1908. Electric power from these facilities was used at the Strawberry Tunnel and Dam during construction. Construction of Indian Creek Dike and Feeder Canal was completed in September 1912 and Strawberry Dam was finished in 1913. The High Line Canal and distribution system of approximately 77 miles, of which about 62 miles are concrete lined, was completed in 1916 and the Springville-Mapleton Lateral was completed in 1918. The entire project was completed by June 30, 1922.

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Before 1900, the low summer flow of the river limited the development of the irrigable lands. Since 1922, all of the reservoir basin supply has been used for the benefit of the project. As a result of an adequate supply of water to the lands, stabilized crop returns and improvement in the economic conditions of the area have been realized. Principal crops are alfalfa, corn, small grains, fruit, and some vegetables.

Recreation and Fish and Wildlife

Strawberry Reservoir has a surface area of 17,163 acres at maximum capacity.

A recreation master plan has been prepared for the reservoir. Initial development consists of two major recreation sites, several fisherman access points, and a visitor station. The major recreation sites have been developed at Soldier Creek Bay and at Strawberry Bay. The sites provide about 700 camping units which include flush toilets, electric power, shelters, tables, grills, fire circles, and a sewage collection and treatment system. Boat ramps, marinas, parking, and fish cleaning stations are located at each major site.  Administration of fish and wildlife activities as well as boating regulation are the responsibility of the state of Utah. The reservoir has long been one of Utah's finest fisheries and is the primary source of eggs for native cutthroat trout used in fish hatcheries throughout the State.

Hydroelectric Power

From three small generating plants having a total capacity of 1,550 kilowatts, the project has realized revenues which have assisted materially in the repayment of construction costs. Generation and transmission of power on the project are handled entirely by the Strawberry Water Users Association.

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Last updated: May 17, 2011