NISP supplemental draft environmental impact statement released, comment until September 3

July 3, 2015
Northern Integrated Supply Project preferred alternative

Northern Integrated Supply Project preferred alternative

Here’s the release from the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District (Brian Werner):

With the Army Corps of Engineers release of the Northern Integrated Supply Project’s supplemental draft environmental impact statement, NISP proponents have accomplished an important milestone toward constructing two new, and very much needed, reservoirs in northern Colorado.

The SDEIS began in 2009 following a four-year process to produce a draft EIS. The NISP SDEIS is one of the most extensive and intensive reviews of a water project ever undertaken in Colorado. The additional studies closely analyzed riparian habitat, water quality, aquatic resources and hydrologic modeling.

“We are pleased to have reached this important milestone after 12 years and nearly $15 million in expenditures by the NISP participants,” Northern Water General Manger Eric Wilkinson said. “The SDEIS shows that the project is needed to meet a portion of the participants’ future water needs.”

The SDEIS includes a proposed mitigation plan illustrating how NISP participants will provide additional water to the Poudre River during low flows, build low-flow/fish-friendly bypass structures at key sites on the river through Fort Collins, and implement river restoration measures.

“NISP is a collaborative, regional project that will play a key role in addressing Colorado’s challenging water future by managing available water supplies that would otherwise flow out of state and do so while addressing environmental concerns in a proactive way,” Wilkinson added.

The SDEIS and additional information is available on the U.S. Army Corps website at: http://www.nwo.usace.army.mil/Missions/RegulatoryProgram/Colorado/EISNISP.

For additional information on NISP visit http://www.gladereservoir.org.

From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Nick Coltrain):

Public comment will now be accepted through Sept. 3, versus the initial 45 days. The corps’ posting does not include more public hearings on the proposal. There are two planned — one in Fort Collins and one in Greeley — for near the end of July.

The corps cited “a number of requests to extend the comment period” in its extension notice. At least one request, from U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a Democrat whose district includes Fort Collins. Anti-NISP group Save the Poudre also planned to ask for an extension and Fort Collins city staff analyzing the NISP report said the length of the comment period would dictate when they presented their findings to the city council.

Polis asked for a minimum of 120 for the report to be digested and commented on. He cited concerns by the Fort Collins city government that it have enough time for complete analysis and outreach on the proposal.

Low flow releases are part of the mitigation plan. From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Nick Coltrain):

The report, which clocks in at just shy of 1,500 pages, is the precursor to at least two public hearings and a 45-day public comment period on a plan to build two new Northern Colorado reservoirs capable of delivering more water to Colorado’s growing Front Range.

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a Democrat whose district includes Fort Collins, has already requested the public comment period be extended to 120 days.

Documents released Friday add to a 2008 draft environmental impact statement for the water storage proposal. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which compiled the reports and is the ultimate authority on whether construction will be permitted, determined “substantial additional analysis was needed” after its initial report underwent public comment.

About 675 letters, emails and oral statements regarding NISP were recorded during that process.

“We are pleased to have reached this important milestone after 12 years and nearly $15 million in expenditures by the NISP participants,” Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District General Manger Eric Wilkinson said in a statement. “The SDEIS shows that the project is needed to meet a portion of the participants’ future water needs.”

Northern Water, a public agency that coordinates water management in Northern Colorado, proposed the project to help meet future water needs along the Front Range. It expects a final permit decision in 2017…

NISP opponents fear the project will siphon water away from the Poudre River, which flows through Fort Collins on its route to connect with the South Platte River near Greeley…

In its statement, Northern Water notes that the supplemental report includes mitigation plans to ensure additional water will be released back into the Poudre River during low flows, and includes construction of fish-friendly bypass structures and river restoration measures…

The project, if approved, would lead to the construction of the Glade and Galeton reservoirs, with an estimated combined storage of more than 215,000 acre-feet of water, 40,000 of which would go to municipal water supplies each year. The larger of the two, Glade Reservoir, would be larger than Horsetooth Reservoir.

Glade Reservoir would be built just north of Ted’s Place, the country store and gas station at the junction of Colorado Highway 14 and U.S. Highway 287. It would require portions of U.S. 287 to be relocated.

The reservoir, capable of holding up to 170,000 acre feet of water, would cover the land north of Ted’s Place and south of Owl Canyon with Poudre River water.

Galeton Reservoir, built northeast of Greeley, would be filled with water from the South Platte River.

From The Greeley Tribune (Catherine Sweeney):

WHAT’S NEXT

RESIDENTS INTERESTED IN COMMENTING ON THE SUPPLEMENTAL DRAFT OF THE NORTHERN INTEGRATED WATER SUPPLY ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT SHOULD DO SO PRIOR TO SEPT. 3. THERE ARE TWO PUBLIC HEARINGS IN WHICH TO DO SO:

» 5 p.m. July 22 at the Hilton Fort Collins, 425 W. Prospect Road, Fort Collins

» 5 p.m. July 23 at the Weld County Administration Building, 1150 O St., Greeley.

To view the supplemental draft environment statement, and to learn where to send written comments, go to the Army Corps of Engineers’ website.

Submit comments in writing to John Urbanic, NISP EIS Project Manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, Denver Regulatory Office, 9307 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Littleton, CO 80128 E-mail: http://nisp.eis@usace.army.mil..

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who serves on the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, focused on the harm “buy and dry” deals could do to Colorado…

Weld County Commissioners Barbara Kirkmeyer and Mike Freeman both attended the rally and expressed their support.

“It’s very important to me,” Freeman said. “We know the cost of buy-and-dry.”

Freeman represents Weld County’s District 1, which covers the northern half of the county. It also covers a vast amount of farmland, which would be considered for water lease deals.

Meanwhile, NISP supporters rallied at a shindig at Northern’s HQ yesterday. Here’s a report from Saja Hindi writing for the Loveland Reporter-Herald:

Speakers at the Northern Colorado Integrated Supply Project support rally made a consistent call to action to their attendees — make their voices heard…

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began its first environmental impact statement in 2004 with a draft open to public comment in 2008. The following year, they decided to conduct a supplemental draft environmental impact statement, and that was released June 19 of this year for public comment. The comment period was extended recently through Sept. 3.

The final impact statement is scheduled to be released in 2016 with a record of decision in 2017.

If the agency allows for the project to move forward, construction could begin 2019 and be completed in four years…

Senators, congressional leaders and local elected officials were among the 175 attendees at the fifth rally in support of the project at Northern Water in Berthoud Thursday afternoon.

“We all know this is a valuable project needed for this area, and it must move forward,” said Eric Wilkinson, Northern Water General Manager.

It’s not going to dry up the Poudre River, Wilkinson asserted to the crowd, rather make use of available water supplies in Northern Colorado. And it’s needed for the 15 participants in the project, the future of the region, the future of the state and for future generations, he added.

Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, told the crowd there’s been a lot of talk this year in Colorado about rain barrels and harvesting water.

“Ladies and gentlemen, let’s help build this ultimate rail barrel,” he said. “Let’s build NISP.”[…]

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., also addressed the crowd, stressing the urgency of the project.

“These are the faces of NISP, the faces that know their communities need this water to survive,” Gardner said.

He said residents need to be serious about the infrastructure needs of the country and can’t keep pushing the projects down the road because delays will affect costs, people’s employment and access to water for individuals and agriculture.

Gardner said in an interview that the permitting process in these projects needs to be examined because both NISP and the Chatfield Reservoir project have taken more than a decade — even with broad bipartisan support.

From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

Northern Colorado leaders rallied Thursday urging quicker green lights for their “ultimate rain barrel” — a $713 million project that would divert water from the federally protected Cache La Poudre River and store 71 billion gallons in two new reservoirs.

They contend this Northern Integrated Supply Project is crucial for 400,000 future Front Range residents in some of the nation’s fastest-growing areas around Colorado’s oil and gas boom.

Since April, so much rain filled existing reservoirs and flowed into the South Platte River that Nebraska got 1.3 million acre-feet that Colorado could have caught if it had more storage space such as NISP’s Glade and Galeton reservoirs, Northern Water manager Eric Wilkinson said Thursday. Northern Water has been seeking permits since 2004 and still faces federal and state regulatory hurdles.

Erie, Fort Morgan, Windsor, Firestone, Frederick, Dacono and others “are trying to meet their future water needs,” Wilkinson said.

Poudre water wouldn’t be taken during dry times, ensuring flows of at least 50 cubic feet per second during summer and 25 cfs in winter. Mitigation of harm to wetlands would lead to restoration of habitat elsewhere, he said.

“NISP will not dry up the Poudre River,” Wilkinson said. “This project makes beneficial use of available water supplies.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s administration must complete environmental reviews; a state spokeswoman said Hickenlooper and two key water officials were traveling and couldn’t respond to queries. Federal water engineers at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this week extended by 30 days a public-comment period on the latest environment impact document, due to be done next year.

Construction couldn’t begin before 2019, Northern Water officials said, assuming permits are issued…

The alternative to developing new water supplies would be for booming cities and industry to buy more water from farmers, leading to a dry-up of 100 square miles of irrigated agriculture, project proponents said. That would mean a $400 million loss of agricultural output, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner said at the rally.

“That is economic devastation,” Gardner said. “We can’t keep pushing it down the road. The longer this takes, the higher the cost, and the more acres that get dried up.”

This spring, water flows in the Poudre, a South Platte tributary with upper reaches protected as wild and scenic, were sufficient for Northern Water to trap and store 130,000 acre-feet in the two proposed reservoirs, officials said. The project goal is to store enough water to supply 40,000 acre-feet a year to 15 participating water providers.

Gardner said he’ll work to accelerate permitting in Washington, D.C.[…]

More than 150 state lawmakers, mayors, county commissioners, water providers and residents attended Thursday’s rally.

“We’ve got to find a way to keep Colorado’s water in Colorado,” state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg said. “We’ll have the ultimate rain barrel, ready to be filled, right up the road here.”

More Northern Integrated Supply Project coverage here and here.


Thank God we have a #colorado because we have a chance to have a snowpack above 8,000 feet — Greg Hobbs #martz2015

June 13, 2015
Greg Hobbs at the 2015 Martz Summer Conference (Of course there is a projected image of a map -- this one was the division of Colorado into water divisions heeding the advice of John Wesley Powell)

Greg Hobbs at the 2015 Martz Summer Conference (of course there is a projected image of a map — this one was the division of Colorado into water divisions heeding the advice of John Wesley Powell to organize by watershed)

(If the Tweet above does not display correctly use your browser refresh button. There are timing problems with content between WordPress and Twitter at times.)

In Colorado we have prior appropriation, the anti-speculation doctrine, and a long-lived and active water market, that have managed to keep the wolf at bay. Maximizing shareholder value is the wrong goal for the public’s water. Most water in Colorado is provided by local government entities.

Municipal use is a small part of the overall pie but large amounts of water are necessary for agriculture and the environment. You don’t want to squeeze either one too much. We’re not that good at forecasting the consequences of our engineering.

I asked Brad Udall if he thought the Colorado River Basin was in collapse. He said no, even in the worst case we should have 80% yield from the system. He said we have to use the water more wisely.

That is the definition of collapse: There is not enough water to stay status quo in the basin. This is at the same time that the environment requires that we undo some of our damage and share some water.

Click here to read my notes (Tweets) from the conference. (Scroll down to the bottom and read up from there. Tweets are published in reverse-chronological order.)


West Clear Creek cleanup: “But who can make instream flow part of the deal?” — David Holm

May 31, 2015
Clear Creek watershed map via the Clear Creek Watershed Foundation

Clear Creek watershed map via the Clear Creek Watershed Foundation

From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

After years of delay, state and federal agencies this month confirmed they will clean the water by building a $15 million treatment plant — a project that had the goal of restoring fish habitat. The plant is a key step in a federal Superfund cleanup that has dragged on for 32 years. But fish are still out of luck.

Local town leaders want to divert the cleaned water for people, frustrating the agencies and those who want fish to return to the creek. It’s a case of how Colorado’s population growth and development boom are intensifying competition for water.

“It isn’t ideal,” said David Holm, director of the Clear Creek Watershed Foundation. “Would it be better if we had a deal to ensure ample in-stream flow in North Clear Creek? Yes. But who can make in-stream flow be part of the deal?”

The mining towns-turned-gambling meccas Black Hawk and Central City have asserted that, under Colorado’s water appropriation system, they can use senior water rights that they own to tap the cleaned creek. Black Hawk plans to build thousands more hotel rooms, hiking and biking trails, a reservoir and, possibly, a golf course — all requiring more water.

More Clear Creek Watershed coverage here.


USGS: Evaluation of Groundwater Levels in the South Platte River Alluvial Aquifer, Colorado, 1953–2012

May 29, 2015
South Platte River Basin via Wikipedia

South Platte River Basin via Wikipedia

Here’s the abstract from the United States Geological Survey (Tristan P. Wellman):

The South Platte River and underlying alluvial aquifer form an important hydrologic resource in northeastern Colorado that provides water to population centers along the Front Range and to agricultural communities across the rural plains. Water is regulated based on seniority of water rights and delivered using a network of administration structures that includes ditches, reservoirs, wells, impacted river sections, and engineered recharge areas. A recent addendum to Colorado water law enacted during 2002–2003 curtailed pumping from thousands of wells that lacked authorized augmentation plans. The restrictions in pumping were hypothesized to increase water storage in the aquifer, causing groundwater to rise near the land surface at some locations. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Colorado Water Institute, completed an assessment of 60 years (yr) of historical groundwater-level records collected from 1953 to 2012 from 1,669 wells. Relations of “high” groundwater levels, defined as depth to water from 0 to 10 feet (ft) below land surface, were compared to precipitation, river discharge, and 36 geographic and administrative attributes to identify natural and human controls in areas with shallow groundwater.

Averaged per decade and over the entire aquifer, depths to groundwater varied between 24 and 32 ft over the 60-yr record. The shallowest average depth to water was identified during 1983–1992, which also recorded the highest levels of decadal precipitation. Average depth to water was greatest (32 ft) during 1953–1962 and intermediate (30 ft) in the recent decade (2003–2012) following curtailment of pumping. Between the decades 1993–2002 and 2003–2012, groundwater levels declined about 2 ft across the aquifer. In comparison, in areas where groundwater levels were within 20 ft of the land surface, observed groundwater levels rose about 0.6 ft, on average, during the same period, which demonstrated preferential rise in areas with shallow groundwater.

Approximately 29 percent of water-level observations were identified as high groundwater in the South Platte River alluvial aquifer over the 60-yr record. High groundwater levels were found in 17 to 33 percent of wells examined by decade, with the largest percentages occurring over three decades from 1963 to 1992. The recent decade (2003–2012) exhibited an intermediate percentage (25 percent) of wells with high groundwater levels but also had the highest percentage (30 percent) of high groundwater observations, although results by observations were similar (26–29 percent) over three decades prior, from 1963 to 1992. Major sections of the aquifer from north of Sterling to Julesburg and areas near Greeley, La Salle, and Gilcrest were identified with the highest frequencies of high groundwater levels.

Changes in groundwater levels were evaluated using Kendal line and least trimmed squares regression methods using a significance level of 0.01 and statistical power of 0.8. During 2003–2012, following curtailment of pumping, 88 percent of wells and 81 percent of subwatershed areas with significant trends in groundwater levels exhibited rising water levels. Over the complete 60-yr record, however, 66 percent of wells and 57 percent of subwatersheds with significant groundwater-level trends still showed declining water levels; rates of groundwater-level change were typically less than 0.125 ft/yr in areas near the South Platte River, with greater declines along the southern tributaries. In agreement, 58 percent of subwatersheds evaluated between 1963–1972 and 2003–2012 showed net declines in average decadal groundwater levels. More areas had groundwater decline in upgradient sections to the west and rise in downgradient sections to the east, implying a redistribution of water has occurred in some areas of the aquifer.

Precipitation was identified as having the strongest statistically significant correlations to river discharge over annual and decadal periods (Pearson correlation coefficients of 0.5 and 0.8, respectively, and statistical significance defined by p-values less than 0.05). Correlation coefficients between river discharge and frequency of high groundwater levels were statistically significant at 0.4 annually and 0.6 over decadal periods, indicating that periods of high river flow were often coincident with high groundwater conditions. Over seasonal periods in five of the six decades examined, peak high groundwater levels occurred after spring runoff from July to September when administrative structures were most active. Between 1993–2002 and 2003–2012, groundwater levels rose while river discharge decreased, in part from greater reliance on surface water and curtailed pumping from wells without augmentation plans.

Geographic attributes of elevation and proximity to streams and rivers showed moderate correlations to high groundwater levels in wells used for observing groundwater levels (correlation coefficients of 0.3 to 0.4). Local depressions and regional lows within the aquifer were identified as areas of potential shallow groundwater. Wells close to the river regularly indicated high groundwater levels, while those within depleted tributaries tended to have low frequencies of high groundwater levels. Some attributes of administrative structures were spatially correlated to high groundwater levels at moderate to high magnitudes (correlation coefficients of 0.3 to 0.7). The number of affected river reaches or recharge areas that surround a well where groundwater levels were observed and its distance from the nearest well field showed the strongest controls on high groundwater levels. Influences of administrative structures on groundwater levels were in some cases local over a mile or less but could extend to several miles, often manifesting as diffuse effects from multiple surrounding structures.

A network of candidate monitoring wells was proposed to initiate a regional monitoring program. Consistent monitoring and analysis of groundwater levels will be needed for informed decisions to optimize beneficial use of water and to limit high groundwater levels in susceptible areas. Finalization of the network will require future field reconnaissance to assess local site conditions and discussions with State authorities.

More South Platte River Basin coverage here.


Major Construction Set to Begin on WISE Water Project — South Metro Water Supply Authority

May 29, 2015
WISE System Map September 11, 2014

WISE System Map September 11, 2014

From email from the South Metro Water Supply Authority (Russ Rizzo):

Construction is set to begin on a regional water project that is a significant part of the South Denver Metro area’s plan to transition to a renewable water supply.

Western Summit Constructors, Inc. has been contracted to oversee design and construction of major infrastructure for the WISE (Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency) project. Construction will begin in Juneand continue into 2016, when water deliveries will begin.

WISE is a partnership among Aurora Water, Denver Water and the South Metro Water Supply Authority to combine available water supplies and system capacities to create a sustainable new water supply. Aurora and Denver will provide fully treated water to South Metro Water on a permanent basis. WISE also will enable Denver Water to access its supplies during periods when it needs to. All of this will be accomplished while allowing Aurora to continue to meet its customers’ current and future needs.

“This is a significant milestone in our long-term plan to transition to a renewable water supply,” said Eric Hecox, executive director of the South Metro Water, which represents 14 water providers comprising most of Douglas County and a portion of Arapahoe County. “With construction agreements now in place, we will break ground in coming weeks to begin connecting water systems throughout the Denver Metro area.”

Aurora’s Prairie Waters system will provide the backbone for delivering water from the South Platte when Aurora and Denver Water have available water supplies and capacity. The water will be distributed to the South Metro Denver communities through an existing pipeline shared with Denver and East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District and new infrastructure that will be constructed over the next 16 months.

“By working together, the three major water entities serving the Denver Metro area have put the southern communities of Denver on a more secure and sustainable path while delivering benefits to the entire region as well as West Slope communities,” said Gov. John Hickenlooper. “The approach is a model for us to replicate as Colorado’s Water Plan is implemented.”

When WISE begins delivering water in 2016:

●The South Denver Metro area will receive a significant new renewable water supply;

●Denver will receive a new backup water supply;

●Aurora will receive funding from partners to help offset its Prairie Waters Project costs and stabilize water rates; and

●The West Slope will receive new funding, managed by the River District, for water supply, watershed and water quality projects.

South Metro Water and its 14 water provider members are executing a plan to transition to renewable supplies. The plan focuses on three areas: investments in infrastructure; partnership among local and regional water suppliers; and maximizing efficiency of existing resources through conservation and reuse.

The South Metro region has made tremendous progress over the past 10 years, reducing per capita water use by more than 30 percent and adding new renewable water supplies and storage capacity that have significantly decreased reliance on nonrenewable groundwater.

For details on the WISE project as well as South Metro Water’s plan to transition to renewable water supplies, visit http://www.southmetrowater.org/smwsa-projects/.

More WISE Project coverage here.


Granby: “State of the River” meeting recap #ColoradoRiver

May 29, 2015
Historical Colorado River between Granby and Hot Sulphur Springs

Historical Colorado River between Granby and Hot Sulphur Springs

From the Sky-Hi Daily News (Hank Shell):

During the meeting, officials from the Upper Colorado River Basin’s biggest water interests including Northern Water, Denver Water and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation spoke about some of the basin’s biggest issues, including the state of runoff and snowpack in the region and the movement at Ritschard Dam on Wolford Mountain Reservoir.

Though snowpack seemed to falter during what proved to be a rather dry March, it’s been building steadily over the last three to four weeks, explained Don Meyer with the Colorado River District.

The variations in snowpack have pushed the basin into “uncharted territory,” he said.

“I think the message here is think 2010 in terms of snowpack,” Meyer said.

Though he added that snowpack is not analogous to runoff, Meyer said 2015 “will likely eclipse 2010 in terms of stream flow.”

Victor Lee with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation echoed Meyer, adding that recent cold temperatures across the region have allowed snowpack to persist.

Though snowpack is currently below average, it could linger past the point at which the average snowpack tends to drop…

If the current snowpack does translate into high runoff in Grand County, there may not be anywhere to put it, Lee said.

Front Range reservoirs are full, and storage in Lake Granby is the highest it’s ever been for this time of year, according to Lee’s presentation…

Though it could be a good runoff year for Grand County, Meyer said that snow-water equivalent above Lake Powell is still well below average, making it a dry year for the Upper Colorado River Basin overall.

RITSCHARD DAM

Officials aren’t sure when the settling and movement at Ritschard Dam will stop, but it poses no threat to safety, said John Currier with the Colorado River District.

“We really are absolutely confident that we don’t have an imminent safety problem with this dam,” Currier said…

ENDANGERED FISH

The Bureau of Reclamation will increase flows from the Granby Dam to 1,500 CFS around May 29 and maintain those flows until around June 8, Lee said.

The releases will be part of an endangered fish recovery program and will be coordinated with releases from other basin reservoirs to enhance peak flows in the Grand Valley where the plan is focused.

Wolford Mountain Reservoir will also participate in the coordinated releases, Meyer said.

The program hopes to re-establish bonytail chub, Colorado pikeminnow, razorback sucker and humpback chub populations to a 15-mile stretch of the Colorado River above Grand Junction.

WINDY GAP FIRMING

After receiving its Record of Decision last year, the Windy Gap Firming Project’s next major hurdle is acquiring a Section 404 permit from the Army Corps of Engineers for the construction of Chimney Hollow Reservoir, said Don Carlson with Northern Water.

The permit regulates dredged or fill material into water as part of the Clean Water Act.

Northern Water hopes to acquire the permit this year, with construction possibly beginning in 2016 or 2017, Carlson said.

The project seeks to firm up the Windy Gap water right with a new Front Range reservoir. The project currently stores water in Lake Granby.

Because it’s a junior water right, yield for the project is little to nothing in dry years.

Northern Water also hopes to establish a free-flowing channel of the Colorado River beside the Windy Gap Reservoir as part of the Windy Gap Reservoir Bypass Project.

The new channel would allow for fish migration and improve aquatic habitat along the Colorado River.

That project still needs $6 million of its projected $10 million cost.

MOFFAT TUNNEL FLOWS

Moffat Tunnel flows are hovering around 15 CFS as Denver Water is getting high yield from its Boulder Creek water right, said Bob Steger with Denver Water.

The increased yield from that junior water right means flows through Moffat Tunnel will remain low through early summer, Steger said.

“The point is we’ll be taking a lot less water than we normally do,” he said.

Denver Water expects its flows through the tunnel to increase in late summer as its yield from Boulder Creek drops, Steger said.

Williams Fork Reservoir, which is used to fulfill Denver Water’s obligations on the Western Slope, is expected to fill in three to four weeks, Steger said.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here.


WISE Project set to turn dirt in June

May 26, 2015
WISE System Map September 11, 2014

WISE System Map September 11, 2014

From the Parker Chronicle (Mike DiFerdinando):

Western Summit Constructors Inc. has been contracted to oversee design and construction of major infrastructure for the Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency project. Construction will begin in June and continue into 2016, when water deliveries will begin.

“This is a significant milestone in our long-term plan to transition to a renewable water supply,” said Eric Hecox, executive director of the South Metro Water Supply Authority. “With construction agreements now in place, we will break ground in coming weeks to begin connecting water systems throughout the Denver metro area.”[…]

The group tasked with utilizing this water is the South Metro WISE Authority. The primary purpose of the authority is to reduce members’ dependence on nonrenewable Denver Basin wells and provide a reliable, long-term water supply for residents.

The WISE members are funding the new infrastructure that will move the water from Aurora’s Binney Water Purification Facility to its end locations, beginning in 2016. Water purchased by Douglas County entities, as well as by some of the other providers, will be stored at the Rueter-Hess Reservoir south of Parker.

prairiewaterstreatment

Prairie Waters Project schematic via Aurora Water

 

Aurora’s Prairie Waters system will provide the backbone for delivering water from the South Platte when Aurora and Denver Water have available water supplies and capacity.

The water will be distributed to the south metro communities through an existing pipeline shared with Denver and East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District, plus new infrastructure that will be constructed over the next 16 months.

More WISE Project coverage here.


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