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Weber River Project
Aerial view of Echo Dam and Reservoir
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Weber River Project History (70 KB) (pdf)
General Description| Plan| Development| Benefits


General Description

The Weber River Project, formerly designated as the Salt Lake Basin Project, first division, is in the vicinity of Ogden, Utah. It was developed primarily to supply supplemental irrigation water to about 109,000 acres of land east of the Great Salt Lake, lying between the lake and the Wasatch Mountains. Its principal engineering feature is Echo Dam and Reservoir, 42 miles southeast of Ogden, on the Weber River. A secondary feature is the construction of the original Weber-Provo Diversion Canal. This canal was enlarged as part of the Provo River Project. The project distribution system is privately owned, operated, and maintained by approximately 50 organizations and individuals.

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Water is stored in Echo Reservoir, and released as needed by the irrigators. Delivery to the land is made through privately owned distribution systems that divert water from the Weber River.

Facility Descriptions

Echo Dam

Echo Dam is a zoned earthfill structure, one mile upstream from the town of Echo and about six miles north of Coalville. It has a structural height of 158 feet and contains 1,540,000 cubic yards of materials. The spillway has a capacity of 15,000 cubic feet per second. The outlet conduit is a concrete-lined horseshoe tunnel to the gatehouse, from which two steel pipes pass through a tunnel to the valve house. The outlet works has a capacity of 2,100 cubic feet per second.

Operating Agencies

The project is operated and maintained by the Weber River Water Users Association.

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Irrigation of lands from the Weber River was started about 1850. The late summer natural flow was sufficient for full water supply for about 3,000 acres, but before many years had passed a larger area was developed for which there was only a partial supply.


The Reclamation Service made a reconnaissance of this area in 1904 and 1905, which resulted in the Geological Survey establishing stream gaging stations in 1905. Early in 1922, the Reclamation Service, in cooperation with the Utah State Water Storage Commission, started investigations for a storage reservoir. Final selection of a site for the dam and reservoir was made in 1924. Congressional approval and an appropriation for construction of Echo Dam was received in 1924, and after 2 years of detailed investigation, design, and legal work, the project was approved for construction.


The President approved the project on January 8, 1927, under the terms of Section 4 of the Act of June 25, 1910, and Subsection B, Section 4, of the Act of December 5, 1924 (43 Stat. 701).


Construction of Echo Dam commenced on November 26, 1927, and was completed in December 1931. It was necessary to relocate portions of the Union Pacific Railroad branch lines and the Lincoln Highway. The original Weber-Provo Diversion Canal also was constructed during this time. In 1986, under the direction of the Bureau of Reclamation, the two needle valves in the outlet works at Echo Dam were replaced with 60 inch jet-flow gate valves. Other modifications to the dam include the construction of a hydroelectric powerplant which was completed in 1987. The powerplant was constructed by Bountiful Power and Light under a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) permit.

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Project soils are deep, fertile, and generally well drained; they are particularly adapted to production of barley, wheat, corn, alfalfa, potatoes, fruits, vegetables, and sugar beets. An abundance of fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, peas, beans, cabbage, cherries, peaches, and apricots, are raised, primarily for canning purposes. Carload lots of fruits and vegetables are shipped to outside markets.


Recreation facilities at Echo Reservoir are administered by the Bureau of Reclamation and consist primarily of camping, swimming, boating, and water skiing. There were 198,339 recreation use visits generated by the facilities during 1996

Flood Control

Echo Dam and Reservoir has a dedicated flood control space as per Corp of Engineers. According to the Army Corp of Engineers Flood Control Diagram, Echo and Rockport Reservoirs have a combined flood control capacity of 25,000 acre-feet. Echo Reservoir  has 73,940 acre-feet of capacity assigned for flood control. The Weber River Project has provided an accumulated $11,864,000 in flood control benefits from 1950 to 1999.

Hydroelectric Power

In 1987, a hydroelectric powerplant was installed on the left side of the toe of Echo dam. Inside the powerplant are two 1750 kilowatt and one 1000 kilowatt power generators. Water is diverted from the outlet works penstock approximately 40 feet upstream of the high pressure jet-flow gates.

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Last updated: May 17, 2011