NISP proponents plan to release 14,000 acre-feet per year from Glade through Fort Collins

Map of the Northern Integrated Supply Project via Northern Water
Map of the Northern Integrated Supply Project via Northern Water

From The Fort Collins Coloradan (Kevin Duggan):

Proponents of building Glade Reservoir as part of a massive water storage project have devised a different way of moving its water to thirsty Northern Colorado communities while putting more water into the Poudre River through Fort Collins.

The proposal from Northern Water and participants in the long-sought Northern Integrated Supply Project calls for releasing about 14,000 acre feet of water each year from Glade Reservoir into the Poudre and running it through Fort Collins.

The goal would be to put more water in the river to benefit its ecosystem and aquatic life, said Brian Werner, Northern Water spokesperson. It would ensure minimum flows of 18 to 25 cubic feet per second, or cfs, in the river throughout the year.

The proposed change is in response to comments received from the public and local entities, including the city of Fort Collins, about a supplemental draft Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, for the project being reviewed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“A lot of what we’ve heard was about having a healthier river,” Werner said. “This benefits the river.”

The move would do away with “dry up” spots on the river downstream from where irrigation companies divert water. Passage structures would be built near the diversions to allow fish to move up and down the river.

Water would still be taken from the Poudre River during times of peak flow and stored in Glade Reservoir, which would be built north of Ted’s Place at the intersection of Colorado Highway 14 and U.S. Highway 287. But the proposed release plan would address concerns about maintaining flows in the river, especially during dry years.

There is no “magic number” for flows that translates to a healthy river, said Jerry Gibbens, water resources engineer with Northern Water, but what’s proposed would be an improvement over current conditions.

“Eliminating these dry-up points and having a minimum flow above 20 cfs would have tremendous benefits to the aquatic habitat, and that’s really what we were going after,” Gibbens said.

NISP would yield 40,000 acre feet of water a year to participants. An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons, enough to meet the water needs of three to four urban households for a year.

Northern Water announced the new conveyance plan during its annual water users meeting April 13. Conversations with local entities about the proposal have begun, Werner said.

Fort Collins officials are aware of the proposal but have not had time to evaluate it, said John Stokes, director of Natural Areas for the city.

Among the city’s concerns about the draft EIS was projected reduced flows on the river and the impact to aquatic life. Water temperature variations in the river was another issue.

The environmental group Save the Poudre, which has been fighting NISP for years, plans to carefully scrutinize Northern Water’s proposal before stating an opinion, director Gary Wockner said.

Adjusting plans for NISP is part of the EIS review process, Werner said. The Army Corps of Engineers, which has permitting authority over the project, is expected to release the final document for NISP in 2017. The EIS process has been delayed numerous times over the years.

Ken Kehmeier, a senior aquatic biologist with the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife, said the proposed operational change would improve conditions for aquatic life along the Poudre through Fort Collins.

“This is just one step, but it’s a big step,” he said.

More needs to be done to address conditions downstream, Kehmeier said, where water quality is a major issue.

Under the plan, water released from Glade would be diverted from the river near Mulberry Street to a pipeline that would connect with another pipeline from the reservoir carrying water to NISP participants.

The refined conveyance method is expected to add $30 million to $40 million to the price of NISP, Werner said.

But the 15 communities and water districts participating in, and paying for, the project told Northern Water to “go for it if it gets us closer to the finish line,” Werner said.

Find more information at Northern Water’s website, and the Army Corps of Engineers’ project page.

nisp

Fall River Hydroplant And Upper Fish Hatchery Reaches Stabilization Project — Estes Park News

From the Town of Estes Park (Tina Kurtz) via The Estes Park News:

The Town is currently working with Otak and Flywater on a streambank stabilization and channel restoration project on Fall River from the Rocky Mountain National Park boundary to approximately 550 feet downstream of the western Fish Hatchery Road Bridge.

The September 2013 flood caused significant erosion of the streambanks and channel scour in this reach, which resulted in the loss of aquatic habitat and posed safety concerns for visitors to the Town’s historic Hydroplant museum. In addition, the mobilized sediment during the flood event and subsequent runoff events resulted in significant deposition downstream.

The project is being conducted in two phases. Phase I, which was completed on March 1, 2016, consists of streambank stabilization, channel restoration and aquatic habitat improvement for the reach between the RMNP boundary and the pedestrian bridge at the Hydroplant. Phase II will occur during the summer of 2016 and will continue the Phase I work downstream of the pedestrian bridge to the downstream project boundary and include revegetation of the entire project reach.

Phase I of the project was funded through a Community Block Development Grant – Disaster Recovery Round 1 Infrastructure grant administered by the Colorado Office of Emergency Management through the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. Phase II is anticipated to be funded through Senate Bill 14-179 funds administered by the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

If you would like more information on this project, please contact Tina Kurtz, Town of Estes Park Environmental Planner at tkurtz@estes.org or 970-577-3732.

Greeley Water closing in on new rate structure to encourage conservation

Greeley in 1870 via the Greeley Historical Society and the Denver Public Library
Greeley in 1870 via the Greeley Historical Society and the Denver Public Library

From The Greeley Tribune (Catharine Sweeney):

Greeley water officials are continuing to push a new water rate system that would provide residents with incentives to cut their consumption, and local leaders are warming up to the idea.

The Water and Sewer Board went over the plan again during its meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Today, Greeley residents pay a flat rate for water that doesn’t take into account how much they use, and regionally, that’s rare.

“Really, Greeley and Loveland are the only cities left in northern Colorado that have uniform rates,” said Eric Reckentine, the department’s deputy director of water resources.

A few cities, such as Aurora and Colorado Springs, charge their residents in uniform blocks for usage.

Greeley officials find the blocks arbitrary. Someone who irrigates a lawn that’s 1,000 square feet obviously will use more water to do so than someone who owns a 500-square-foot lawn.

Greeley is opting for a tiered water rate based on a water budget, or calculated allowance, water planners give residents. Planners use the number of people in a household and the amount of land the resident could irrigate to decide how many gallons a month each home should use. They allot 55 gallons per person per day. They give a little more than two gallons per square foot of irrigable land.

A four-person family on an average lot would get 21,000 gallons per month.

Under the new plan, the family would pay $3.88 per 1,000 gallons within the budget, and the rate would increase incrementally as the water usage exceeded the budget.

There are four tiers. If residents are within budget, using 100 percent or less of the allotment, they get the reduced rate. If use falls between 100 and 130 percent of the allotment, it’s considered inefficient use, and it will cost $4.74 for each 1,000 gallons in that range. If residents keep overusing and get into the 130-150 percent of their allotment range, they’ll pay $6.04 for that segment. If they get past 150 percent of their allotment, that will cost $8.62 for every 1,000 gallons.

The extra cost didn’t come in increments when city officials first heard the plan in February. Anything outside the budgeted water was charged at the highest tier a resident hit.

“You paid that amount for all of it,” Mayor Tom Norton said during an interview. “It was kind of more of a punishment.”

Greeley and water department officials said the goal was to recover costs for overuse, which is about 300 acre-feet every year. An acre-foot of water is how much an average family uses in a year.

“That’s several million dollars worth of water,” Water Board Chairman Harold Evans said.

South Platte: River Run Park set for summer opening

Oxford Reach Whitewater Park Looking Upstream Toward Oxford Avenue via Arapahoe County.
Oxford Reach Whitewater Park Looking Upstream Toward Oxford Avenue via Arapahoe County.

From The Denver Post (Joe Rubino):

Local officials are anticipating the summer opening of a park along the South Platte River that will provide some fresh opportunities for a cooldown.

River Run at Oxford will be a multifaceted park and trailhead offering access to the metro area’s river, improved riparian habitat and unique recreational and educational opportunities officials hope will make it a regional draw.

The site is just west of Broken Tee Golf Course, along West Oxford Avenue on the Sheridan-Englewood border. When the first phase of the estimated $14 million project opens this summer, it will bring a rocky beach, in-water recreation features and a picnic pavilion with flush-toilet bathrooms to the east bank of the Platte, as well as improvements to ensure safer flood flow passage and a state-of-the-art sand filter for water running into the river.

“The point of this project was to engage the river for recreation but also from an ecological and function standpoint, as well as education,” said Laura Kroeger, an engineer with Urban Drainage and Flood Control Districtand manager of the River Run project.

Last week, earth movers shuffled boulders along the river bank as crews with contractor Naranjo Civil Constructors worked on a pair of drop structures that will create features for kayaking, paddleboards or inner tubes. One of the structures includes an adjustable concrete plate that can create a standing wave, a feature that Kroeger said exists only in one other place in the country, to her knowledge.

“Right now, if you want to kayak or play in the river , you would need a flow of about 1,000 (cubic feet per second) and that might only happen a few days a year,” she said of water flows required for river recreation. “With this, we can adjust the drop structure based on the release from Chatfield Reservoir to get more use. It’s designed for 200 cfs.”

River Run is about half a mile from the Oxford Avenue light-rail station and a short walk from the Englewood Recreation Center. The golf course is nearby and its parking lot has grown by 70 spaces to accommodate future River Run visitors.

Englewood has publicly accessible water at the lake at Centennial Park, but city open space manager Dave Lee said, “I think river access is the big thing we’ve never had before.”

“That’s one of the reasons people want to live in Colorado — for these unique opportunities,” added Dorothy Hargrove, Englewood’s director of parks, recreation and library.

The project continues to evolve. Kroeger said partners are pursuing funding to add safety signs as well as educational information to help teachers from area schools who could bring students to River Run to learn about riparian habitat.

River Run has two future phases: completion of a trail along the east side of the Platte, connecting it to the Big Dry Creek Trail near Union Avenue; and additional upstream flow improvements. It should conclude in 2018, Kroeger said.

Kroeger and others applauded the collaboration that went into the large-scale project. Aside from the cities and Urban Drainage, the South Suburban Parks and Recreation District, the Colorado Water Conservation Board and Arapahoe County Parks and Open Space are partners.

Arapahoe County Open Spaces grants and acquisitions manager, Josh Tenneson, said that collaboration dates to 2006 when the 21-member South Platte Working Group was convened. The group has allocated more than $25 million to various projects, including recent work at Littleton’s South Platte Park and the upcoming Reynold’s Landing Park project. All told, the county has dedicated around $5 million to River Run, he said.

Sheridan recently secured a $350,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant to build a playground at the River Run trailhead. Sheridan City Manager Devin Granbery said he could see the park delighting city residents and boosting business at the city’s marquee shopping area, nearby River Point at Sheridan.

“I think it will serve as a regional draw similar to the way that (Denver’s) Confluence Parkdraws users into that area,” Granbery said. “Hopefully, after people use the amenities there, they’ll eat at a Sheridan restaurant or do some shopping.”

Denver Water official says more West Slope water projects ‘not on our radar’

The dam that forms Gross Reservoir, located in the mountains west of Boulder. Photo: Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism
The dam that forms Gross Reservoir, located in the mountains west of Boulder. Photo: Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism

By Brent Gardner-Smith, Aspen Journalism

LOVELAND – Mike King, the new director of planning for Denver Water, said at a recent meeting that beyond additional transmountain diversions through the Moffatt Tunnel into an expanded Gross Reservoir near Boulder, Denver Water doesn’t have other Western Slope projects on its radar.

King served as executive director of Colorado’s Department of Natural Resources from 2010 until January of this year, when he took the planning director job with Denver Water.

After speaking to a luncheon crowd of close to 200 at the Northern Water Conservancy District’s spring water users meeting in Loveland on April 13, King was asked from the audience “How much more water does Denver Water need from the Western Slope?”

“I think if we get Gross Reservoir approved, the answer is for the foreseeable future, you know, we need to do that first,” King said.

King is a native of Montrose, son of a water attorney, and has a journalism degree from CU Boulder, a law degree from the University of Denver, a master’s in public administration from CU Denver and 23 years of state government experience.

“And I can tell you that the reality is, whether it is from a permitting perspective or a regulatory perspective, the West Slope is going to be a very difficult place,” King continued. “If there is water available, it is going to be a last resort. And I so think that the answer is, that won’t be on our radar.”

Denver Water is seeking federal approval to raise the dam that forms Gross Reservoir, in the mountains west of Boulder, by 131 feet. That would store an additional 77,000 acre-feet of water and bring the reservoir capacity to 118,811 acre-feet. Ruedi Reservoir, by comparison, holds 102,373 acre-feet.

The $360 million project would provide 18,000 acre-feet of firm yield to Denver Water’s system and result in an additional 15,000 acre-feet of water being diverted from the West Slope each year. On average, Denver Water’s 1.3 million customers use about 125,000 acre-feet of West Slope water each year.

The water to fill an expanded Gross Reservoir would mainly come from tributaries of the Fraser and Williams Fork rivers, via the Moffat Tunnel, near Winter Park.

Beyond the Gross Reservoir project, King explained that any future Denver Water projects on the West Slope would need to fit within the confines of the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement, signed by Denver Water and 17 West Slope entities in 2013.

The CRCA, says that “if there is more water, it only comes after the West Slope says they agree with it and it makes sense,” King said. “That sets the bar so incredibly high and gives them the ultimate ability to say, ‘This is good for the West Slope.’

“And so I just don’t think Denver Water is going to be looking to the West Slope,” King continued. “I think anybody who manages natural resources, and water in particular, will never say ‘never’ to anything, but I think it is certainly not on our radar.”

Not on Denver Water’s radar, perhaps, but it is worth noting that Denver Water is the only major Front Range water provider to have signed the cooperative agreement with the West Slope.

When asked what he thought of King’s remarks about West Slope water, Eric Kuhn, the general manager of the Colorado River District said he thought the comments reflect “the concept that if Denver takes more water from the West Slope it could undermine the security/reliability of what they already take.”

Kuhn’s comment relates to the possibility that if Denver Water diverts too much water from the Western Slope, it could help trigger a compact call from the lower basin states, which could pinch Denver’s transmountain supply of water.

Editor’s note: Above is a recording of Mike King, the director of planning for Denver Water, speaking after lunch in front of about 200 people at Northern Water’s spring water users meeting, a public meeting held at The Ranch event center in Loveland on Wednesday, April 13, 2016. The recording, made by Aspen Journalism, begins shortly after King had begun his remarks. It is 26:34 in length. At 8:20, King discusses the development of the Colorado Water Plan. At 22:40, King answers a question about the governor’s endorsement of the Windy Gap project and another phrased as “How much more water does Denver Water need from the Western Slope?”)

A buoyant crowd

Earlier in the meeting engineers from Northern Water — which supplies water to cities and farms from Broomfield to Fort Collins — told the mix of water providers and water users from northeastern Colorado that they could expect an average spring runoff this year, both from the South Platte and the Colorado Rivers.

They were also told that Northern Water was making progress on its two biggest projects: the Windy Gap Firming Project, which includes construction of Chimney Hollow Reservoir near Berthoud; and NISP, the Northern Integrated Supply Project.

NISP includes two new reservoirs, Glade and Galeton, to be filled with East Slope water from the Cache La Poudre River, which runs through Fort Collins and into the South Platte River.

Just before lunch, John Stulp, the special policy advisor on water to Gov. John Hickenlooper, read a surprise letter from the governor endorsing the Windy Gap project, which would divert an additional 9,000 acre-feet of water each year, on average, from the upper Colorado River and send it through a tunnel toward Chimney Hollow.

Windy Gap is part of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, which diverts on average 260,000 acre-feet a year from the Western Slope.

The Windy Gap project does include environmental mitigation measures for the sake of the Colorado River, and has approval from the required state agencies and Grand County, but it still needs a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Looking east toward the Chimney Hollow Reservoir site, which is just this side of the red ridge. On the other side is Carter Lake Reservoir and beyond that, the Loveland area.
Looking east toward the Chimney Hollow Reservoir site, which is just this side of the red ridge. On the other side is Carter Lake Reservoir and beyond that, the Loveland area.
A graphic from Northern Water showing the lay out of Windy Gap Firming Project.
A graphic from Northern Water showing the lay out of Windy Gap Firming Project.

A political risk

After lunch, King shared some insights from his old job as head of the state’s department of natural resources.

“I think it’s important that you understand what the development of the state water plan looked like from the governor’s perspective and the state’s perspective,” King told his audience.

As head of DNR, King had oversight over the Colorado Water Conservation Board, which was specifically tasked by the governor in late 2013 to produce the state’s first-ever water plan, and to do so in just two years.

King said that he, Stulp and the governor knew that a water plan in Colorado could be “the place where political careers went to die.”

“So the thing we had to make sure that came out of this, knowing that we weren’t going to solve the state’s water issues in two years, was that we had to do this in a manner that politically, this was viewed as a big win, and that future governors and future elected officials would say, ‘We need to do this again and we need to continue this discussion,’” King said.

“Not because the governor needed a political win,” King added, “but because to have the next stage of the water plan, to have the discussion in five years, you can’t have an albatross around this, and I think we were able to do that, and so we’re very proud of that.

“If we had a political mushroom cloud, no one would have ever touched the Colorado Water Plan again,” King continued. “That meant we aimed a little bit lower than maybe we would have liked, and I’ve gotten this at Denver Water, talking about lost opportunities in the Colorado Water Plan. Maybe we did aim just a little bit lower than we should have.”

King said the state was not able to “reconcile the inherent conflicts” in the various basin implementation plans, or BIPs, that were put together by regional basin roundtables as part of the water planning process.

And he acknowledged that the plan has been criticized for not including a specific list of water projects supported by the state, and for reading more like a statement of problems and values than a working plan.

“One of things that has been driven home to me time and time again in the two months that I’ve been at Denver Water is that planning is not something you do every five or six years,” King said. “Planning is a continuous process.”

King also said that there were some “tremendous successes” in the water plan, including the basin implantation plans, or BIPs, even though they sometimes conflicted.

“We got BIPs from every single basin,” King said. “The basins turned over their cards and said ‘This is what we need.’ So now we have a major step forward.”

The "wedge-wheel" graphic that summarizes the approach of the Colorado Water Plan.

Other plan elements

King said other successes in the Colorado Water Plan include the stated goal of conserving 400,000 acre-feet of water by 2050 and a nod to changing land use planning in Colorado.

King said tying land use to water availability “was something we never discussed in Colorado because it infringed on local control and it was just kind of a boogieman in the room.”

But he pointed out that “the vast majority of the basin implementation plans said, expressly, ‘We need to have this discussion’ and ‘We need to start tying land use to water availability,’” King said. “That’s a good thing. That’s a major step forward.”

When it comes to land use and Denver Water, King said driving down the per capita use remained a high priority and that if Denver proper grows, it is going to grow up through taller buildings, not by sprawling outward.

King also said Denver Water was working to manage, and plan for, the already apparent effects of climate change, especially as spring runoff is now coming earlier than it used to.

“We know that the flows are coming earlier, we know that the runoff is coming earlier,” King said, noting that reality is causing Denver Water to plan for different scenarios and ask questions about storage and late summer deliveries of water.

“For us, the most immediate thing is, is that we know it’s getting warmer,” King said. “In the last 20 years we’ve seen that, the way the [run offs] are coming earlier. We know we’ve had catastrophic events that are incredibly difficult for us to manage. And so we’re trying to work through that.”

Editor’s note: Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Daily News and Coyote Gulch are collaborating on coverage of rivers and water. The Daily News published this story on Wednesday, April 20, 2016.

Windy Gap Firming Project: Longmont Councillors eschew debt, ready to pony up $47 million cash

Map from Northern Water via the Fort Collins Coloradan.
Map from Northern Water via the Fort Collins Coloradan.

From The Longmont Times-Call (Karen Antonucci):

The Longmont City Council reached a consensus Tuesday night — they would rather the city pay roughly $47 million in cash instead of using debt for a portion of the Windy Gap Firming Project.

Water rates are set to increase by 9 percent in 2017, 2018 and 2019, then 8 percent in 2020 and 2021, said Dale Rademacher, general manager of public works and natural resources.

Paying cash for Windy Gap is cheaper for the city in the long run, but staff estimates it will raise water rates by 21 percent in 2017 and then by another 22 percent in 2018, rather than the planned 9 percent. Debt financing would have cost almost $25 million more in the long term with a predicted 5 percent interest rate but resulted in more gradual rate increases between 5 and 14 percent in the short term…

City Manager Harold Dominguez said there are plans in the works to test utility rate discounts for low-income households. To qualify, a single Longmont resident would need to make less than $12,720 in a year or a married couple would need to earn less than $17,146 in a year, although those limits could have adjusted slightly since the test program was introduced.

The City Council also directed Rademacher to explore alternative financing so the entire burden of the $47 million doesn’t fall on ratepayers. There’s a Windy Gap surcharge on new water taps that sunsets at the end of 2017. Councilmembers said they’d rather the surcharge just stayed in place in order to generate funds for the Windy Gap project.

Additionally, a property owner can either transfer non-historical water rights to satisfy a raw water requirement or pay cash-in-lieu. Staff will study limiting it to cash payment only in order to pay for Windy Gap.

Meanwhile, here’s the view from Grand County (Lance Maggart):

The long awaited development of Northern Water’s Chimney Hollow Reservoir cleared one of the final two hurdles on the road to construction in late March when the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) released its 401 water quality certification for the project, generally referred to as the Windy Gap Firming Project (WGFP).

The issuance of the 401 water quality certification from the CDPHE was one of two final steps in the permitting process required for construction on the project to begin. The 401 certification from the state comes after 13 years of work. According to Northern Water’s Public Information Officer Brian Werner Northern Water began the formal permitting process for the development of Chimney Hollow Reservoir in 2003. Since beginning the formal permitting process Northern Water and other participants have spent roughly 15 million dollars on the projects permitting process.

Now that Northern Water has received their 401 certification from the state the municipal water provider is awaiting a 404 wetlands permit from the US Army Corp of Engineers, the final permitting step before construction can begin on Chimney Hollow.

404 WETLAND PERMITS

As a matter of practice 404 wetlands permits from the Corp of Engineers require issuances of state certifications, like the CDPHE 401 water quality certification, before the Corp of Engineers can complete their own permitting processes. “This is the next to the last step in getting the project permitted,” stated Project Manager Jeff Drager.

Officials at Northern Water said they expect the 404 wetlands permit is forthcoming and anticipate its issuance in the next few months. Werner was quick to point out that Governor John Hickenlooper has officially endorsed the project, a first in the history of the state according to a press release from Northern Water highlighting the endorsement.

“Northern Water and its many project partners have worked diligently, transparently and exhaustively in a collaborative public process that could stand as a model fro assessing, reviewing and developing a project of this nature,” stated Hickenlooper in a letter read at Northern Water’s Spring Water Users meeting in Loveland last week by the Governor’s Water Policy Advisor John Stulp.

Once Northern Water has secured the final permit for the project from the Corp of Engineers work on Chimney Hollow Reservoir can begin. Chimney Hollow is eventually expected to store 90,000 acre-feet of water and will be located just west of Carter Lake Reservoir in southern Larimer County. The development of the reservoir will mean additional water diversions out of Grand County. The total estimated price tag for the WGFP is around $400 million.

ENDORSEMENTS

Despite environmental concerns produced by the additional diversions both Grand County and the conservation group Trout Unlimited have endorsed the project, following sustained negotiations between Northern Water and various stakeholders from the western slope regarding environmental mitigation and adaptive management plans for the Colorado and Fraser Rivers. A press release from Trout Unlimited praised the river protections that were reaffirmed with the state 401 certification.

“We strongly believe these permit conditions establish a strong health insurance policy for the Upper Colorado River,” stated Mely Whiting, counsel for Trout Unlimited. In their press release Trout Unlimited outlines conditions within the 401 certification the organization feels will address both fish habitat issues and water quality needs including: monitoring of stream temperatures, key nutrients and aquatic life, providing periodic “flushing flows” to cleanse the river during runoff and requiring ongoing monitoring and response if degraded conditions are detected.

The 401 certification and the environmental protections included with it were made possible in part from a more collaboratively minded interaction between west slope stakeholders such as Grand County and Trout Unlimited and east slope diverters Northern Water and Denver Water. “This long-term monitoring and flexibility of response is called ‘adaptive management’ and it’s a critical feature of the permit requirements,” stated Whiting. “Adaptive management recognizes that stakeholders can’t foresee every problem, and it provides a process for ongoing monitoring and mitigation of river problems as they arise.”

Grand County local Kirk Klancke is the president of the Colorado Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited and has long championed the health of both the Fraser and Colorado Rivers. Klancke spoke positively about the adaptive management and collaborative spirit that has made negotiations for the WGFP possible. “We wouldn’t be at this point without the leadership of Grand County and their persistent efforts to improve the health of the Colorado River,” stated Klancke. “The Northern subdistrict also deserves credit for listening to our concerns and working with all stakeholders to find solutions.”

Sedalia: Water tank overhaul

The Sedalia Water Tank was constructed in 1890 by the Santa Fe Railroad and served as a water supply for the locomotives until diesel supplanted the use of coal-fired steam engines.  Today, the water tank serves as the main water supply for Sedalia.  The tank was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002 for its role during the steam era of the rail system and for its contributions to Colorado history. Photo via Douglas County.
The Sedalia Water Tank was constructed in 1890 by the Santa Fe Railroad and served as a water supply for the locomotives until diesel supplanted the use of coal-fired steam engines. Today, the water tank serves as the main water supply for Sedalia. The tank was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002 for its role during the steam era of the rail system and for its contributions to Colorado history. Photo via Douglas County.

From The Douglas County News-Press (Shanna Fortier):

The Sedalia water tank, which is the sole supplier of water to the town and a historic site, is in the homestretch of receiving much-needed work, which will allow the tank to still be used, rather than replaced.

“This was a much-overdue project,” said Mary Kasal, district engineer for Sedalia Water and Sanitation District. “We’re pleased to get it done.”

Constructed in 1906, the Sante Fe Railway Water Tank stands in an open grassy area northwest of the unincorporated town of Sedalia. Two cottonwood trees stand to the west and a large, high, grass-covered berm traverses along the north between the tank and Highway 85.

The 140,000-gallon capacity water tank sits on a sag foundation and is 24 feet in diameter and 43 feet high. The cylindrical tank is constructed of large sections of steel that have been riveted together.

Historically, the tank was painted in Sante Fe colors, Sante Fe red with the Santa Fe logo in yellow, black and red. Today, the tank is painted metallic silver with the word “Sedalia” in red with a black outline facing Highway 85. Below, in black, it reads, “Elev. 5835.”

The water tank is on the National Register of Historic Places and in 1958, the railroad deeded the system (water tank, pipe and well pump) to the Sedalia Water and Sanitation District.

Today, the tank is still used as a water storage facility, which serves as part of the community’s water supply and distribution system.

But the tank had fallen into disrepair. It was old, rusted and was no longer up to code. New Occupational Safety and Health Administration certified access points had to be installed and new regulations for fresh-water drinking systems needed to be put into place for the tank to stay functional.

With grants from the State Historical Fund, Douglas County Community Development Block Grant and The Edmund T. and Eleanor Quick Foundation, the town was able to recoat the inside of the tank with Ecodur 201, a super green (solvent free, VOC free, BPA free) product from Castagra that uses natural vegetable oil.

“The town people love this tank,” said Matt Cullen of Castagra Products Inc., adding the the residents have been bringing workers food and water throughout the project. “We’re happy to work with the town on this project.”