WISE Water Project Receives Unprecedented Statewide Support

Denver-area project the first to receive funds from Basin Roundtables across the state

  • Colorado Water Conservation Board approves $905,000 in state and regional funds
  • WISE on track to deliver new sustainable water supply to South Metro region in 2016

Greenwood Village, Colo., Sept. 17, 2015 – The WISE water project today received unprecedented statewide support, becoming the first water infrastructure project in Colorado to receive funding from Basin Roundtables across the state.

The Colorado Water Conservation Board approved $905,000 in state and regional grant funding for the WISE (Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency) project, including funds from seven of the state’s nine Basin Roundtables.

“We are excited and grateful for the broad, statewide support for this important project,” said Eric Hecox, executive director of the South Metro Water Supply Authority, which represents 13 water providers comprising most of Douglas County and a portion of Arapahoe County. “This is a significant part of our region’s plan to transition to a more secure and sustainable water supply, and benefits of WISE extend throughout the region and to the West Slope.”

WISE is a partnership among Aurora Water, Denver Water and South Metro Water 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 project is reflective of the regional and statewide collaboration the State Water Plan calls for to meet the future water needs of Coloradans,” said former State Representative Diane Hoppe, chair of the Colorado Water Conservation Board. “The broad financial support from Basin Roundtables across the state reflects the cooperation and smart approach that the Denver metro area’s leading water providers have taken.”

The Basin Roundtables, created in 2005 with the Colorado Water for the 21st Century Act, represent each of the state’s eight major river basins and the Denver metropolitan area. The grants are part of the state’s Water Supply Reserve Accounts program that assists Colorado water users in addressing their critical water supply issues and interests.

Roundtables that have committed funds to WISE so far include:

  • Metro Basin Roundtable
  • South Platte Basin Roundtable
  • North Platte Basin Roundtable
  • Colorado Basin Roundtable
  • Arkansas Basin Roundtable
  • Gunnison Basin Roundtable
  • Yampa/White/Green Basin Roundtable

“The Colorado Basin applauds the WISE participants for their forward thinking and collaborative approach,” said Jim Pokrandt, chair of the Colorado Basin Roundtable, which includes Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs. “WISE benefits not just the Front Range but the West Slope as well. The project enables the metro region to re-use its trans-mountain supplies, thereby reducing the need to look to other regions for water supply. In addition, the WISE agreement is an integral part of the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement under which the West Slope receives funding to help meet our water project and environmental needs.”

Construction on the WISE project began in June and will continue into 2016. 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 Colorado River Water Conservation District, for water supply, watershed and water quality projects.

 

Participating South Metro Water Supply Authority members:

  • Centennial Water and Sanitation District
  • Cottonwood Water and Sanitation District
  • Dominion Water and Sanitation District
  • Inverness Water and Sanitation District
  • Meridian Metropolitan District
  • Parker Water and Sanita¬tion District
  • Pinery Water and Wastewater District
  • Rangeview Metropolitan District
  • Stonegate Village Metropolitan District
  • Town of Castle Rock

Statewide Leaders Express Support for WISE

“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. The approach is a model for us to replicate as Colorado’s Water Plan is implemented.” –Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

“This project is reflective of the regional and statewide collaboration the State Water Plan calls for to meet the future water needs of Coloradans. The broad financial support from Basin Roundtables across the state reflects the cooperation and smart approach that the Denver metro area’s leading water providers have taken.” –former state Representative Diane Hoppe, chair of the Colorado Water Conservation Board

“WISE is an excellent example of the kind of water project that the CWCB would like to see emulated throughout Colorado. It produces multiple benefits for multiple water interests from the front range to the western slope while meeting the critically important need of helping the south metro area reduce its historical reliance on nonrenewable groundwater. Not only do the families of the south metro region benefit from this, but all of Colorado benefits.” –Patti Wells, Colorado Water Conservation Board member

“As the former representative of Colorado on the Upper Colorado River Commission and as Colorado’s representative to negotiations among the seven Colorado River Basin states, the U.S. and Mexico, I am particularly invested in the long-term health and viability of the Colorado River. WISE is an important example of a project that, through regional and statewide collaboration, will secure a reliable supply of renewable water for Front Range communities while also protecting the Colorado River. It is my hope that other regions will look to WISE as a model for the future.” –John McClow, Colorado Water Conservation Board member

“The Colorado Basin applauds the WISE participants for their forward thinking and collaborative approach. WISE benefits not just the Front Range but the West Slope as well. The project enables the metro region to re-use its trans-mountain supplies, thereby reducing the need to look to other regions for water supply. In addition, the WISE agreement is an integral part of the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement under which the West Slope receives funding to help meet our water project and environmental needs.” –Jim Pokrandt, chair of the Colorado Basin Roundtable

“WISE is a great project because it takes advantage of reusable water supplies and reduces the need for agriculture transfers and future water diversions from the West Slope. We commend the South Metro Water Supply Authority and its partners for the collaborative approach they have taken with WISE.” –Michelle Pierce, chair of the Gunnison Basin Roundtable

“We applaud the collaborative approach South Metro Water Supply Authority and its partners have taken with the WISE project, which benefits multiple water interests throughout the state while providing a new sustainable water supply for the South Metro area. This is an excellent example of a smart, regional approach to solving important water challenges.” –Jon Hill, chair of the Yampa/White Basin Roundtable

“We are excited and grateful for the broad, statewide support for this important project. This is a significant part of our region’s plan to transition to a more secure and sustainable water supply, and benefits of WISE extend throughout the region and to the West Slope.” –Eric Hecox, executive director of the South Metro Water Supply Authority


Progress Report: New projects and regional partnerships are creating a secure and sustainable water future

Water is our most precious resource. It is what makes the South Metro Denver region’s outstanding quality of life and growing economy possible. As summer heats up, South Metro Water is reminded of the importance of our commitment to creating a secure and sustainable water future for our region.

While there is more to be done to achieve that commitment, the good news is we are making progress.  Below is an update on the progress that South Metro Water and our members are making on our plan to ensure future generations can call the South Metro region home.

WISE breaks ground

The Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency (WISE) Project is a regional water supply project between Aurora Water, Denver Water and South Metro Water Supply Authority.  After several years of work, the project has now broken ground.  Construction of a critical component of the project’s infrastructure – a water tank at the corner of Smoky Hill Road and E-470 – began on July 27th.

This innovative regional partnership is one of the first of its kind in the country. It will reduce groundwater reliance and bolster renewable water supplies to the South Metro area, while maximizing the use of existing water assets belonging to Aurora and Denver Water.  With this groundbreaking, WISE is on track to deliver water in 2016.

Learn more at: www.SouthMetroWater.org/wise-partnership

Photo by Chris Michlewicz, Parker Chronicle
Photo by Chris Michlewicz, Parker Chronicle

Rueter-Hess Reservoir filling up

Rueter-Hess, a crucial source of water for Parker, continues to fill. As of July 20, the reservoir contained 21,100 acre feet, enough water to serve Parker’s existing population for nearly four years.  A particularly wet May and June saw the reservoir rise 3.7 feet in one four-week period and average one foot per month. Water levels are currently at 95 feet, halfway to the top.

The Parker Chronicle recently wrote an article about the recreational amenities at the reservoir that will be available for public use and enjoyment.  Details are still being determined, but trails, non-motorized boating and fishing are likely to be among the recreational activities that will be offered.

Read the recent article in the Parker Chronicle to learn more about Rueter-Hess.

Arapahoe Water’s new pipeline boosts renewable water supply

Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority (ACWWA) is constructing a new water line connection for its long term project, ACWWA Flow. The new 4,000 foot long 24 inch water line will be installed in conjunction with the City of Centennial’s Arapahoe Road – Waco to Himalaya – road widening project that will begin construction by Fall 2015.

The new pipeline will be used to deliver up to 4,400 acre-feet of ACWWA’s renewable water from the South Platte Basin to ACWWA customers. This will be delivered in part through facilities operated by East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District, in which ACWWA owns capacity. This collaborative approach with regional water partners will help provide a secure, sustainable and high quality water source for current and future ACWWA customers.

Learn more about the ACWWA Flow Project at: www.ArapahoeWater.org

Photo coutesy of ECCV.org
Photo coutesy of ECCV.org

Expanding supply through a new water treatment process

East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District (ECCV) is piloting a new high-tech water cleaning process that could further increase renewable water supplies. The process would take the salty waste liquid from existing treatment and turn it into clean and usable water. ECCV’s existing 31-mile pipeline currently carries water to 55,000 customers between the Cherry Creek Reservoir and the E-470 beltway. If proven successful, this new treatment process would further increase the efficiency of this system and help ECCV continue to provide high quality water to thousands of current and future South Metro residents.

Read the recent Denver Post article to learn more about this innovative new treatment process.

Photo courtesy of Chatfield State Park
Photo courtesy of Chatfield State Park

Chatfield Reallocation Project moving forward

The Chatfield Reallocation Project, which will expand storage in the reservoir by an additional 20,600 acre feet, continues to move forward.  Now that the project has received the necessary regulatory approvals, the project has issued an RFP for a Program Manager (PM).  The PM will be selected later this summer or early in the fall to move forward with the management of design and construction of the project which will provide additional storage capacity for several participating entities including Castle Pines, Castle Rock and Centennial Water and Sanitation District serving Highlands Ranch.

To learn more about Chatfield, visit http://chatfieldreallocation.org/.

Eric Hecox and other state water leaders discuss Colorado’s Water Plan on Colorado Public Radio

The second draft of Colorado’s Water Plan was just released.  Colorado Public Radio gathered Eric Hecox, Executive Director of the South Metro Water Supply Authority, along with the leaders of Denver Water and the Colorado River District, to discuss the plan and how the South Metro region is a leader already implementing much of what the plan recommends.

Listen to the full story on Colorado Public Radio.