In the 1990s and early 2000s, roughly two-thirds of the water supplying the south metro area came from an underground aquifer system. This nonrenewable water supply was not sustainable for our growing region. Water levels in the aquifer system were declining, threatening property values, the region’s economy, and our outstanding quality of life. One of Denver’s leading newspapers ran a series of articles with alarming headlines about the problem titled “Running Dry” (the entire series can be read here). Colorado’s governor at the time threatened to put a sign on every new home alerting potential buyers to a looming water crisis.
It was imperative that the region shift to a renewable water supply that gets replenished with rainfall and every season’s melting snow like most other Colorado cities and towns.
Fortunately, water leaders in the region recognized the challenge and got to work, forming South Metro Water Supply Authority in 2004 and embarking on the effort to shift the region to a renewable supply of water.
Tremendous progress has been made in the years since (you can read media coverage of our progress here). In 2019, more than half of the region’s water came from renewable sources, and we are on our way to 85 percent renewable in the next few decades. This progress is a result of investing in new water supply and storage projects, a focus on conservation, and because we joined forces and worked together to address our regional challenge.