H.B. 09-1129: Sterling Ranch development hopes to utilize rainwater catchments

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A Douglas County development — Sterling Ranch near Chatfield Reservoir — hopes to incorporate rainwater catchments into the design. Here’s a report from Andrew Simons writing for The Denver Post. From the article:

[Harold Smethills the major investor of Sterling Ranch] hopes Sterling Ranch will be one of 10 pilot residential developments to get statehouse approval for a rainwater collection system for use in the development. The rest of the rain that falls along the Front Range “is lost through evaporation” or is absorbed by native plants, such as field grasses, Smethills says…

Within the development, Smethills plans to install systems that will capture, store and recycle rainwater. These systems, Smethills says, will reduce the development’s consumption of municipal water by 50 percent…

For example, Sterling Ranch planners will install tanks underneath street roundabouts. Roads in the development will be constructed so rainwater will flow into the roundabouts. “This process utilizes tributary water in average or better rainfall years supplemented with storage and Denver Basin water in drought years,” according to the Sterling Ranch website. “This plan maximizes natural stream flows, traditional water storage, and by using the Denver Basin, we will dramatically reduce the water losses from evaporation while ensuring a dependable supply.”

Other water storage systems could include roof capture, where water is directed from a roof through a special gutter system and stored in a tank at the home. According to a study done by Headwaters Corp., a typical residential system where water is stored underground would run about $10,000 to $15,000…

In June, Gov. Bill Ritter signed HB 1129 into law. Getting permits won’t be easy. Prospective pilot projects must ensure water that’s captured in a neighborhood would not otherwise go into streams.

More Coyote Gulch 2009 legislative session coverage here.

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