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.