Reconstruction of Iowa’s Delhi Dam could begin soon

A unanimous decision by the Lake Delhi Combined Recreational Facility & Water Quality Board could mean the process of rebuilding Iowa’s Delhi Dam is on its way to beginning.

The dam — located along the Maquoketa River — was breached in July 2010 after two days of heavy rain in the drainage basin above the dam.

As reported in a 2011 edition of Hydro Review magazine, “the overtopping caused the earthen embankment to erode and eventually emptied Lake Delhi, causing millions in property damage”.

The lake has sat empty in the years since, impacting the nearby communities that relied on Lake Delhi as a catalyst for their economies.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently awarded the Lake Delhi board the federal permits needed to begin the bidding process for two phases of construction.

The first includes rebuilding of the dam, which, the board said, could begin as soon as this spring.

The second phase includes the construction of public access points, though permitting from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will still be required before construction on phase two can begin.

Officials said the total cost of the project is expected to be around US$16 million and that filling of the lake could begin sometime in 2015.

The dam — completed in 1927 — included a small hydropower project until the 1970s. The dam’s owners had discussed the inclusion of hydropower in its new version during the months following its collapse.

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