C-BT Interpretive Area
A Project Replica
In 1938 Northern Water contracted with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to construct the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, which is federally owned but joined operated by the two partners. As Colorado’s largest transmountain diversion, the C-BT Project provides supplemental water for agricultural, municipal, domestic and industrial uses in Northeastern Colorado. Construction of this very large project began in 1938 and finally concluded in 1957. The project consists of six hydropower plants, three pumping plants, 12 reservoirs, 35 miles of tunnels, 95 miles of canals and 800 miles of transmission lines. The C-BT Project spans 150 miles east to west and 65 miles from north to south.
The C-BT Project captures water on Colorado’s West Slope and transports it beneath the Continental Divide to Northeastern Colorado. While simple in concept, the project design is complex. Northern Water created a C-BT interpretive area at its Berthoud headquarters for visitors unable to attend a tour or otherwise see C-BT facilities firsthand. The small-scale replica includes a recirculating water feature, the Continental Divide and the Alva B. Adams Tunnel. The interpretive area’s water feature operates from late April through early October, however the area is open year-round to the public during daylight hours.
Just west of the interpretive area are the Conservation Gardens, also open to the public.