City officials say Aurora close to purchasing additional water storage — The Aurora Sentinel

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From The Aurora Sentinel (Rachel Sapin):

City officials, already eyeing three future reservoirs to grow Aurora’s water storage system, appear to be close to buying land for the future Wild Horse Reservoir in Park County.

Aurora’s water system consists of 12 reservoirs that span the Front Range and Continental Divide, providing the city with more than 156,000 acre feet of storage located in three water basins. But even though they can supply the city with years of emergency supply in case of a drought, city officials say demands for water are increasing and that they will need more storage to provide services to potentially 600,000 residents in the coming decade.

Lisa Darling, Aurora Water’s South Platte Basin program manager, said that reservoir is likely to be designed and completed by 2022…

According to city documents, Wild Horse would provide the city with 32,400 acre-feet of water storage. The city is expected to complete the purchase and sale contract for the sea-horse-shaped reservoir by August of this year. Aurora Water officials say the project will cost the city $92 million to build out…

[Greg] Baker said Wild Horse has been easier to negotiate in part because it is being built on private land owned by Hartsel Springs Ranch in Park County. He said the owners see the economic opportunity in the recreational elements the reservoir will provide once completed.

Wild Horse will also be located 10 miles above Aurora’s Spinney Mountain Reservoir, which is also in Park County, meaning the city will not have to acquire additional water rights through court to use it.

The other two reservoirs planned are the East Reservoir and Box Creek.

The East Reservoir, which city officials began researching as a site in 2012, would sit just east of the Aurora Reservoir on the former Lowry Bombing and Gunnery Range. Darling said it could be completed in the next decade. Aurora Water is still in the land acquisition process with the Colorado State Land Board and the Rangeview Metropolitan District.

Darling said the East Reservoir project has been held up in part by federal agencies, who for years have been working to find unexploded ordinances that potentially remain on the site and could be harmful if not detonated properly.

One not-so-bright spot for the city is completing Box Creek, a site north of Twin Lakes in Lake County.

“The (National) Forest Service has been less than helpful to date,” said Aurora Water Resources Management Advisor Joe Stibrich about ongoing negotiations over the Box Creek site…

Aurora’s 12 reservoirs include Aurora, Quincy, Rampart, Strontia, Spinney, Homestake, Jefferson Lake, Twin Lakes, Pueblo, Turquoise, Henry and Meredith.

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