Reuse: The WISE Partnership gets approval from the Denver Water Board

August 20, 2013

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From the Denver Business Journal:

Denver Water last week approved the WISE partnership agreement that clears the way for the utility to delivery treated water to the area’s southern suburbs.

Approval of WISE, which stands for Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency, formalizes the regional cooperative water project. The agreement calls for the permanent delivery of 72,250 acre-feet of treated water from Denver and Aurora to members of the South Metro Water Supply Authority (SMWSA).

SMWSA was formed in 2004 from the banding together of smaller water utilities in south Denver.
With the agreement now in place, some of the water that currently flows down the South Platte River and out of the state would be recaptured by Aurora’s 34-mile Prairie Waters Pipeline and pumped back to the Peter D. Binney Water Purification Facility near the Aurora Reservoir. There, the water would be treated and piped to the southern suburbs.

The water delivery will begin in 2016. Members of the SMWSA must have infrastructure in place to move the water from the purification facility. The cost of the water and infrastructure for its delivery is estimated at $250 million over the next 10 years. Each member will independently determine how to finance their share of the project.

The participating members of SMWSA are the town of Castle Rock, Dominion Water & Sanitation District, Stonegate Village Metropolitan District, Cottonwood Water & Sanitation District, Pinery Water and Wastewater District, Centennial Water & Sanitation District, Rangeview Metropolitan District, Parker Water & Sanitation District, Meridian Metropolitan District and Inverness Water & Sanitation District.

More WISE Partnership coverage here.


Douglas County forms a water and wastewater enterprise to fund infrastructure for renewable supplies

July 17, 2012

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From the Castle Rock News Press (Rhonda Moore):

The board of county commissioners on July 10 established the Douglas County water and wastewater enterprise, opening the door to bring money to the table for long-term water development. The enterprise allows the county to issue revenue bonds secured by future revenues from water providers who pass muster, said Lance Ingalls, county attorney. The enterprise, through state statute, allows the county to issue the revenue bonds to qualifying providers on a project-by-project basis, Ingalls said…

The authority was focused primarily on advancing the water infrastructure and supply efficiency project that is pivotal to filling the Rueter-Hess reservoir, said Eric Hecox, authority spokesman…

“This enterprise is opening the door for the county to be a catalyst for partnership to meet our renewable water needs,” Hecox said. “Having a partner as big a player as the county gives us the opportunity to meet our regional long term challenges.”

The strength of the county’s borrowing power bumps the water game up a notch in Douglas County, said Jill Repella, commissioner, District 2. Repella was part of the conversations with providers who made it clear the county’s role is critical to the success of any effort toward bringing long-term water to Douglas County.

More infrastructure coverage here.


The Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority scores 4,400 acre-feet of ag water from United Water and Sanitation, next up water court for a change of use

December 16, 2011

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From The Greeley Tribune (Eric Brown) via Windsor Now!:

Arapahoes’s purchases, negotiated over the past couple of years and finalized in September, still leave a couple of major questions yet to be answered. The county must win approval from water courts to use the water for municipal purposes and it must figure out a way to get the water from here to there. According to documents, Steve Witter, water resources manager for the Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority, said during a presentation at an authority board meeting in September that 43 percent of the 4,400 acre-feet of water purchased by United Water and Sanitation District — on behalf of the authority — came from the Poudre River, while the other 57 percent came from the South Platte River. In an interview Monday, Witter noted that this marks the first time Arapahoe County — the third-most populous county in the state with nearly 600,000 people and whose municipalities include suburbs of Denver — has purchased water rights from farmers in northern Colorado. Witter said all of the agricultural water rights purchased on behalf of the water authority came from the Poudre and South Platte rivers. The transactions were made between United and individual shareholders of irrigation, ditch and reservoir companies — including 12 companies in Weld County, according to documents obtained by The Tribune…

Front Range municipalities, because of their rapid growth, have been buying agricultural water rights from farmers to secure the future water needs for decades. But because of the ongoing “buy and dry” trend, the 2010 Statewide Water Supply Initiative, compiled by the Colorado Water Conservation Board, estimates that 500,000 to 700,000 acres of irrigated farmland could be dried up by 2050 — a year by which Colorado farmers will also be expected to help feed a state population that will have doubled to about 10 million people, according to some estimates.

More Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority coverage here and here.


Arapahoe County appoints 5 to Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority

July 20, 2011

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From the Arapahoe County Board of County Commissioners via the Centennial Citizen:

The Arapahoe County Board of County Commissioners recently appointed five citizens to serve on the newly-expanded Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority Board of Directors.

ACWWA is a water and wastewater authority responsible for the day-to-day operation of providing water and sanitary sewer services to its customers in a roughly eight-square mile area located in central Arapahoe County and a small portion of northern Douglas and Elbert counties.
Serving in their capacity as the Board of Directors for the Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Public Improvement District, the Commissioners expanded the ACWWA Board of Directors to nine members from its current seven-member board.

The Commissioners appointed the following citizens to serve on the ACWWA Board for staggered, one-to three-year terms:

- Mikkel R. Anderson, an executive with the International Risk Group.

- Steven H. Davis, developer/investor with Community Builders Inc.

- Linda Lehrer, president of Sierra Consulting, who served on the ACWWA Board from 2007– 2009.

- Geri G. Santos-Rach, a Medical Billing Analyst for IMED, who previously worked for the Colorado Public Utilities Commission until she retired in 2009.

- Dr. Phyllis R. Thomas, Utility Application Specialist with Phyllis Thomas Consulting.

In April, the commissioners requested applications from citizens interested in serving on the ACWWA Board of Directors. The County received 16 applications and the Commissioners conducted interviews with seven candidates before making its appointment.

“We want to thank all the citizens who took the time to apply for these positions and for their interest in helping to shape their community,” said Commissioner Rod Bockenfeld, who serves as Board Chairman.

“The citizens we appointed today bring a good balance of expertise and knowledge to the ACWWA Board of Directors.”

For more information about the Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority, visit their web site at http://www.arapahoewater.org.


Jim Dyer departs from the Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority

June 22, 2011

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From The Denver Post (Karen Crummy):

It’s unclear whether Dyer resigned or was fired as the Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority continues to grapple with the fallout from problems with the deal first revealed by The Denver Post in March. Two board members recently resigned because of conflicts of interest. Dyer declined to discuss the circumstances surrounding his sudden departure May 31 as government-relations director. But he left two weeks after The Post requested 4 1/2 months of Dyer’s e-mails to and from a number of individuals, including Robert Lembke, head of the United Water and Sanitation District…

Lembke and United are an integral part of the water deal, in charge of building a reservoir and delivering water rights to the ACWWA. Lembke is considered a divisive figure in Colorado water, using the power of his special district to buy and sell water up and down the Front Range.

Click through for more details and to read some of Dyer’s email correspondence.

More ACWWA coverage here.


The Denver Post calls out the Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority on their $153 million ‘Flow Project’ reservoir

April 25, 2011

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From The Denver Post (Karen Crummy):

Gary Atkin, the general manager of the Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority, also said ACWWA has not yet put together design plans or cost estimates on how and where the water will leave the [planned new] reservoir and be delivered…

The reservoir, under construction at South Chambers Road and E-470 in Douglas County, is a component of the ACWWA Flow Project, a $153 million renewable water and infrastructure endeavor…

A review of the reservoir planning process by The Denver Post found:

• ACWWA never formally studied the need for the reservoir. Atkin said an “initial needs analysis was done through the Cherry Creek Project Water Authority,” of which ACWWA is one of four members. Susan St. Vincent of the Cherry Creek project said she could not find anything in its files that resembled a needs analysis.

Her group, she said, has reviewed building or using existing reservoirs to provide each member with a percentage of storage space. In 2007, it looked at constructing one at the Chambers site but dismissed it because it was too expensive. The cost estimate was more than what ACWWA paid, according to records.

• ACWWA doesn’t have any records showing a comparison of its reservoir to Rueter-Hess reservoir a few miles south in Parker. ACWWA is paying $10,000 an acre-foot for storage, according to its contract, while Rueter-Hess is $5,500 an acre- foot, said Frank Jaegar, district manager for Parker Water & Sanitation District.

Atkin told The Post in an e-mail that during ACWWA’s “review and comparison of Chambers to RH we discovered that the price of constructing lines to RH, the additional evaporative loss due to the larger footprint at RH, and the advantage of ownership and complete operational flexibility, made the decision for a vessel such as Chambers a good one.” When asked to provide documentation of the review, Atkin said he “could find no documents in ACWWA’s possession.”

• Robert Lembke, head of United, appears to have done well on the deal. In addition to the contract with ACWWA, Lembke’s private company, Chambers Reservoir Equities LLC, which he says is an “enterprise” of United, has contracted to receive $2 million from another company for the dirt dug up for the reservoir…

• ACWWA does not have a plan regarding how the water will leave Chambers reservoir and where it will be delivered. ACWWA has also not conducted any cost estimates for this, Atkin said when asked by The Post.

• ACWWA hasn’t determined what water is going into the reservoir. Some of it is expected to come from junior water rights on the Cherry Creek, Atkin said.

Water from the South Platte River (part of the flow project) may also be stored after being treated to drinking-water standards, he said. Water experts say it’s typical that raw water is stored in open reservoirs, and it’s unusual to spend money on treating and piping in water that will only get dirty again…

Atkin also said he expects many details about the reservoir to be dealt with in the master plan. And, he said, one reason not to use Rueter-Hess was because of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requirement that the agency review renewable sources of water stored in Rueter-Hess to determine the impacts of transferring and storing it.

More Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority coverage here.


South Platte River basin: The manager of the Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority counters allegations in recent Denver Post article

April 17, 2011

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Gary Atkin has penned a rebuttal to The Denver Post’s investigation of the ACWWA’s deal for South Platte water. From the article:

The contracts were discussed in ACWWA board meetings, which are open to the public, and the minutes are posted online. The “Water System Investment Fee” of $26.50 per month, first added to customer bills in 2010, was discussed in public meetings for months, and appears in the bond documents. ACWWA also had three open houses for citizens to discuss the project. The idea that this was sprung on customers is false.

The deal has all the elements to make it work: a sufficient quantity of long-term renewable water; the ability to collect and deliver treated, potable water to ACWWA; and the ability to negotiate a suitable price.

The transaction has all those elements, including water voluntarily sold by farmers being delivered to a well field near Brighton, being treated to drinking water standards and moved down a massive pipeline along E-470. The water will be integrated into ACWWA’s system.

More South Platte River basin coverage here.


South Platte River basin: $153 million ACWWA water supply project catches the eyes of the Arapahoe County commissioners

March 23, 2011

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From The Denver Post (Karen Crummy):

The commission also intends to publicly question Gary Atkin, general manager of the Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority, about the $153 million project that experts have criticized as mismanaged and risky.

Here’s the announcement of the deal from ACWWA in December of 2009.

More South Platte River basin coverage here.


Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority deals are the subject of a Denver Post investigation

March 22, 2011

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From The Denver Post (Karen Crummy):

Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority, known as ACWWA, proposes delivering its excess water to Castle Rock, even though the water isn’t yet approved for residential use. Castle Rock officials are wary. “We’re comparing projects. We’re not rushing into anything,” said Ron Redd, the town’s utilities director. “We need to make sure we partner up in a secure, long-term water deal. We can’t afford to make a mistake.”[...]

“Given ACWWA’s current surplus of treated and untreated water capacity and Castle Rock’s future water demands, a joint solution involving Castle Rock, ACWWA and United could be advantageous for all parties,” wrote Jim Dyer, ACWWA’s government-relations director, in a Feb. 11 letter to Redd…

Ten days ago, Redd gave the Town Council a memo that outlined the proposed project: South Platte River Basin water would be treated near Barr Lake and conveyed south through a pipeline to a delivery point near E-470 and Smoky Hill Road. Castle Rock would then have to build infrastructure to get the water to the Rueter-Hess Reservoir in Parker and then to the town service area. Redd’s memo points out his initial concerns, which include the town’s reliance on water that must be changed from agricultural use to municipal use…

Redd and his staff are analyzing the ACWWA/United proposal and another one from WISE — Water, Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency. WISE is a joint collaboration among Denver Water, Aurora Water and the South Metro Water Supply Authority (of which Castle Rock is a member and Redd is board president).

More South Platte River basin coverage here.


Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority deals are the subject of a Denver Post investigation

March 20, 2011

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From The Denver Post (Karen Crummy):

[United Water], together with another district — the East Cherry Creek Valley Water & Sanitation District — offered what he called a “turnkey deal.” “The project at the end of the day was able to give us a delivered product at a guaranteed price through infrastructure that was already in place and constructed,” he said, pointing to a critical waterline already built by ECCV.

The authority, which serves about 25,000 customers, has paid or put into escrow $41.6 million for using the waterline but also to build more infrastructure, including a reservoir, a pipeline and a treatment plant. It’s also paid out $65 million for agricultural water rights so far — a price typically paid for water already adjudicated for municipal use — despite the fact that the change-of-use case will take several years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to litigate. And in December, the board amended its budget to pay for “higher than anticipated expenditures for water acquisition” and “unforeseen expenses” associated with the project, according to board minutes.

More South Platte River basin coverage here.


Metro Denver area reuse and wastewater projects update

July 5, 2010

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From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

The projects are driven by scarcity — the growing difficulty of drawing sufficient new supplies from mountain snowpack — and by rapid depletion of groundwater wells that some metro residents rely on. Water providers say they also increasingly are detecting new contaminants, such as pharmaceutical residues from birth-control pills, cosmetics and antidepressants, that they anticipate might have to be removed. “We’re preparing for the future. There’s still expected to be a lot of growth along Colorado’s Front Range. That’s what these plants are for,” said Steve Witter, water resources manager for the Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority…

At the end of June, Arapahoe County and Cottonwood water authorities activated a $30 million purification plant serving residents of the southeastern metro area. Many now receive water purified using membrane and reverse-osmosis filtering, chemicals (hydrogen peroxide and chlorine) and ultraviolet light…

This fall, Aurora’s $659 million “prairie waters” system is expected to start treating South Platte River water that otherwise would not be diverted. Aurora raised water prices (bills now average $75, up from $35), tripled tap fees and issued $450 million in bonds to pay for the project…

Parker water authorities are developing a large reservoir and are hunting for water to fill it and also designing a $50 million treatment plant, said Jim Nikkel, assistant manager of the Parker Water and Sanitation District. The plant will filter up to 10 million gallons a day, he said, and will be useful in shifting away from reliance on wells.

East Cherry Creek Valley water authorities are planning a $30 million treatment plant, using reverse-osmosis and ultraviolet methods, to sustain their 50,000 metro-area customers.

More reuse coverage here.


Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority plans to show off their shiny new water treatment plant on June 18

June 5, 2010

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From email from the ACWWA:

You are cordially invited to the Joint Water Purification Plant Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, the ceremony will be on June 18th, at 10:00 am. For more information please visit our website, under Meetings & Events.

More water treatment coverage here.


Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority scores water rights on the South Platte River in Weld County

December 20, 2009

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From The Denver Post:

The Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority has secured long-term surface water rights on the South Platte River in Weld County. The authority said it will issue about $153 million in bonds to purchase and develop infrastructure that will serve the authority’s 3,000 residential and commercial customers.

More Denver Basin Aquifer System coverage here and here.


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