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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Big Creek Dam Project?

The Big Creek Reservoirs are Newport, Oregon’s sole water supply. The Big Creek Dams create those bodies of water. Built many decades ago, the dams are showing signs of aging, not earthquake-resistant, and risk failure. The City of Newport is working to replace the dams and protect the community’s sole water supply.

Where Does My Water Come From?

The Upper and Lower Big Creek Reservoirs.

How much does the Big Creek Dam Project cost?

The Big Creek Dam Project is estimated to cost over $120 million. A more concrete estimate will be known after the City completes the project’s design phase.

When will the construction of the new Big Creek Dam be completed?

The Big Creek Dam Project is on track to be completed by 2033.

How will project construction impact recreation on the reservoirs?

Currently, the Big Creek Reservoirs are not recreation areas. As a critical water supply, we must protect water quality, and limiting recreation helps do that. During construction, the City will heavily enforce a no-recreation rule to keep the public, our water, and construction crews safe.

What if the taps stopped running?

Imagine a day without water.

  • Today, Newport risks losing an essential we all take for granted. Clean, abundant, reliable water.
  • If Newport experiences a seismic event, the city could be without water for months, maybe years.
  • Even without a seismic event, there is a potential for water restrictions due to the dams’ weakened structural and foundational conditions.
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When Were The Upper And Lower Big Creek Dams Built?

1951: Big Creek Dam #1 (Lower Dam); 1969: Big Creek Dam #2 (Upper Dam).

How Much Water Is Stored In The Big Creek Reservoirs?

BCD 1 (200 acre feet) + BCD 2 (970 acre feet) = 1170 acre feet. This is equivalent to 56 million gallons in BCD 1 and 271.6 million gallons in BCD 2 for a total of 327.6 million gallons of water.

How will the BCD Project Impact the Siletz River?

With more water in storage, Newport will have more flexibility in how and when it supplies water to the city.
  • The city will be able to take less water through its Siletz River intake when high temperatures and lower flow stress the river.
  • This, in turn, will improve aquatic habitat and water quality in the Siletz River.
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How much water will we need in the future?

With annual water consumption growing an average of 2%, Newport’s future demand could outgrow its water supply.
  • If the future of our water supply is not addressed, industry, businesses, and residents could experience higher costs in the form of higher water rates and costs to self-supply water.
  • If we do not act to save our supply, state regulators will make the City lower the water level behind the dams, so we’d have less water. That would make the dams safer, but we’d have to ration water supplies.
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How resilient is Newport’s water supply?

Right now, the current earthen dams may not survive a seismic event. And that would leave the city without water for an indefinite period.
  • Residents and visitors would have to self-supply water, impacting how they cook, clean, bathe, and hydrate.
  • Newport’s economy would struggle—from tourism to industry and everything in between.
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All About the
Big Creek Dam

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