Hundreds gathered Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the dedication of the Elkwater Fork Water Supply Dam.
The Elkwater Fork Dam is designed to supply rural water to current and potential public water service customers in the Upper Tygart Valley River Watershed from Elkins to Valley Head. Construction started in May 2006, and the late U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd was a proponent of congressional funding for the project.
Elected officials including U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.; and West Virginia Agriculture Commissioner Gus R. Douglass addressed those gathered at the dedication.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Linda Howell Skidmore
The Elkwater Fork Water Supply Dam stands ready to serve current and potential customers in the upper Tygart Valley River Watershed from Elkins to Valley Head. Dedication ceremonies for the 123-foot dam were conducted Wednesday afternoon. The facility is constructed of 139,000 cubic yards of concrete and impounds a 54-acre lake that stores 1,400 acre feet of water. To see more photos, visit CU at www.theintermountain.com.
Manchin said he was proud of the new dam, which he called a vital necessity.
"It is a great time to be an American and a great time to be a West Virginian," Manchin said. "When we come together on projects like this, we are helping prepare for the next generation."
Capito said she was happy to see this day come for those who were dedicated to seeing the dam built, especially for Elaine Russell, who worked with the project for many years.
"This dam is not just a structure for holding water," Capito said. "It will offer recreational opportunities for the economy and families."
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, the project will improve health and human safety by providing needed water supply for communities in the Upper Tygart Valley River Watershed.
In 1993, several towns in this watershed experienced a critical shortage of water. Several schools were not able to host classes because of the water crisis. At a critical point, one water plant was within 72 hours of complete depletion of water.
The dam was designed using roller-compacted concrete, and the structure impounds a 54-acre lake. It was designed by Gannett Fleming Inc. and built by Heeter Construction of Spencer. Elkwater Fork Dam is the 187th dam constructed in the state.
Project sponsors and partners included the Upper Tygart Valley Watershed Partnership, Randolph County Commission, the town of Huttonsville, the West Virginia Conservation Agency, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Huttonsville Public Service District, the town of Beverly, the town of Mill Creek, the city of Elkins and Tygarts Valley Conservation District.
The dam will offer 54 acres of recreation opportunities for families and visitors, including a fishing pier, boat ramp and parking.
The Elkwater Fork Water Supply Dam is located 1.8 miles out on Route 58.
More information is available online at www.wv.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/watershed/elkwater/elkwater.html.