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Discussion Starter #1
Seriously scary! They've dug the hole in the ground with no water to fill it at this point. Now these bureaucrats will be heavily invested in finding the water.

Reservoir under construction south of Denver, but there's no water to hold


By Bruce Finley
The Denver Post

Posted: 11/10/2009 01:00:00 AM MST
Updated: 11/10/2009 08:22:24 AM MST


A line of scrapers works the ground. No water has been secured for the south metro reservoir, and Western Slope interests are balking at proposals to pump water over the mountains. (John Prieto, The Denver Post)


Video



An armada of giant yellow earthmovers on the prairie south of Denver is racing to dig one of Colorado's biggest water-supply reservoirs in decades — a hole 180 feet deep across 1,400 acres — designed to wean suburbs off waning aquifers.
But the water to fill this reservoir?
Not yet secured.
The prospect of what critics call an empty bathtub is generating anxiety around Colorado as water managers clash over the last unclaimed mountain river flows.
Most water to fill the Rueter-Hess reservoir "will have to be imported," said Frank Jaeger, manager of the Parker Water and Sanitation District, who for 25 years has led the effort to supply 450,000 suburban residents.
Importing water would
Doug Voss, project superintendent, left, and Frank Jaeger, district manager of the Parker Water and Sanitation District, stand at the site of the reservoir's dam. (John Prieto, The Denver Post)


require multibillion-dollar pumping and piping from rivers running down the western side of the Continental Divide, such as the Colorado, back across mountains to Front Range residents, Jaeger said.
Though huge, the costs likely would be less than for alternatives such as trapping and treating contaminated water from the South Platte or Arkansas rivers, he said.
The option Jaeger and a Colorado-Wyoming coalition of municipal suppliers favor — one of four being considered by state natural resources officials — would divert water from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in western Wyoming along Interstate 80 to Colorado.
Groundwater dropping
If water can't be imported to the reservoir, an estimated 190,000 Front Range residents who currently rely on groundwater face an uncertain future, as water tables are dropping 30 feet a year.
Douglas County communities "need to wean themselves off groundwater because it is finite. You don't want to have your lifestyle depend on a resource that is finite," said Bob Raynolds, a Denver Museum of Nature & Science researcher who for years has monitored aquifers. "We know we're falling down the slope of diminishing returns."
Suburban municipal wells, drilled over the past 20 years as deep as 2,745 feet through bedrock, today produce far less than they did a few years ago.
Yet Colorado Western Slope leaders see the $230 million Rueter-Hess reservoir as folly — and bristle at talk of diverting more water across the mountains to fill it.
The reservoir "is 20 times more expensive, and 10 times as big as they need. It's going to be a little bit of water in a big bathtub," said Eric Kuhn, manager of the Colorado River Water Conservation District, based in Glenwood Springs.
The financing, based on tap fees from anticipated housing construction, "is the water equivalent of a Ponzi scheme," Kuhn said.
State demographers project Colorado's fastest growth will be on the Western Slope, with populations in the Colorado and Yampa river basins nearly tripling by 2050. Water demands to meet urban and energy industry needs there are expected to double.
A "fairy tale"
"There's a very good chance that, in the long run, there's not going to be any more water available on the Western Slope. And, if they're having trouble now paying for Rueter-Hess, how are they going to pay for moving water from the Western Slope? That's why I say this is a fairy tale," Kuhn said.
The push to build the reservoir began in 1985 when Parker obtained a required federal permit for construction in Newlin Gulch. Then other south metro suburbs signed up. The size was quadrupled, with federal approval.
It was presented as storage for recycled water and Cherry Creek storm runoff during wet years — water that normally would be lost downriver.
Now the emerging hole is sufficient to store 72,000 acre-feet. An acre-foot is equal to 325,851 gallons of water, or enough to supply two families of four for a year. Rueter-Hess will be ready for water by 2012, said Doug Voss, project superintendent for Weaver General Construction Co.
Revolt over cost
South metro residents ultimately will have to pay for the project and for water, Jaeger said.
"There's no cheap way out of this situation," Jaeger said.
That's touchy. Parker-area residents revolted this year. A proposed 28 percent hike to cover operating costs prompted a recall campaign to oust water board members. An election is set for Dec. 15.
"All the providers recognize the cost of water is going to be significantly more," said Rod Kuharich, director of the 13-member South Metro Water Supply Authority.
This month, more construction vehicles are rolling into action to build up the 7,700-foot-wide Frank Jaeger Dam at the reservoir.
Critics "can make their claims," but the reservoir will be crucial to sustain population growth, Jaeger said.
Paying off the debt for the construction now underway all depends on tax revenues from future growth, he said.
"To say, 'We'll just shut off growth' will only exacerbate problems," he said. "If you don't pay off debt, what do you do? What does that do to the economy of the whole state? We need steady, controlled growth. All our needs for a reasonable lifestyle are tied into this."
Bruce Finley: 303-954-1700 or [email protected]
 

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I kayak DH.
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Can't we just bomb that fucking city?

It's just a big pile of parasites that keeps stealing resources from the rest of the state.

This makes me sick.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Water

I certainly would like to see the area impliment a low water grass policy and landscaping regulations in advance of an agenda to de-water a classic western river. Lots of Kentucky Blue grass driniking the water all through the front range.

I thought the deal with the pipeline out of the green was dead. Looks like Denver politicians don't see it that way. I will be heavily invested if this pipline ever gets going. There are so many alternatives.
 

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Agreed ,conservation and efficient use over another diversion. Where exactly is it?

Caleb,I can totally understand why you hate [major understatement] the f'ing traffic on I-70,but the water belongs to everybody not you or even necessarily Colorado.People gotta' live somewhere,but they shouldn't be so wasteful of resources.Doesn't your pet creek steal it's water from the Williams Fork.Not trying to pick a fight,you're cool .I hate the sprawl as much as anyone.
 

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See that guy in the photo above? He's wearing a pink shirt. You know what that means? He's got power and money, unlike you. So he's gonna take what he wants and there's nothing you can do about it.
 

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Agreed ,conservation and efficient use over another diversion. Where exactly is it?

The original pln as I saw it was to pull water out of the green in Wyoming. That puts it above all readily run portions of the green. Probably piping it straight out of Flaming Gorge Res. Last I saw on this, wyoming wildlife said al of the analytics on the amount of surplus water in the Res were off., and thus the whole project was in doubt. Apears the officials in this piece were not in agreement. The reality is they are picking the fight in Wyoming because they have the best chance of pulling this off in an unpopulated state. I would give this a less than 10% chance of ever happening. When the interest of downstream users along the colorado saw momentum on this, Phoenix and Vegas and LA, etc.. will pour money into the battle and quash it. At least thats how I hope it happens.
 

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Now, I'm not trying to encourage this and I certainly do not support a pipeline taking more western slope water to the front range. It's BS.

But I did want to point out that municipal water use accounts for a rather small portion of the entire Colorado River water use. something like 10% to 15%, golf courses and fountains included. And that is with cities like Las Vegas, L.A., Phoenix, etc taking that water. the other 85%-90% is used up by agricultural interests. Industrial Ag should be far more regulated than it is at this point.

This does not make another pipeline for municipal supply ok though. I think cities should encourage water conservation. that should do more to ensure water for future growth (another issue). It just seems like a few people are in line to get rich because of this pipeline (which at the beginning was privately funded. I don't know if that is still the case), and (relatively) low volume lake. Those same people would not make any money if people conserved water.
 

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Agreed ,conservation and efficient use over another diversion. Where exactly is it?
Flaming Gorge Reservoir is in southeast Utah and Wyoming, so both states should have a say, right? It's over 400 miles away from Denver. How can they justify pumping water over 400 miles?

Digging the hole for the lake is akin to the overpass they recently built here in Durango. They think that if they start the project and spend the money, it will have to be approved and completed. So far, that is not the case with our overpass- it goes nowhere because the state couldn't secure the land on the other side to continue building the highway. We need to look at this lake the same way- just because they've dug the hole, doesn't mean they are automatically going to get the water.

We can still fight it.
 

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I wonder if any of these guys have considered confined aquifer storage as a better option in lieu of building a big pond with high evaporation rates. Just seems very costly in terms of the environment and efficiency. Thanks for the word.
 

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The Alternatives are worse

Hey guys,

Here is a link to the satellite photo on the official website for the Res.
Rueter-Hess Reservoir - Satellite Photo

It is in between I-25 and the town of Parker, approximately due east of castle pines.

The reason that the flaming gorge diversion is a preferred solution is that it is proposed as a privately financed enterprise. Therefore it may not be necessary to ask voters to approve a huge bond proposal. Also, the flaming gorge reservoir already exisits, so there would not be any additional Dam building involved. All they need to do is build a pipe from flaming gorge to Parker!!

The alternatives are worse in my opinion, and include pumpback schemes on the Yampa, Gunnison, and the Colorado river return (AKA Big straw). For some light reading on the topic you can find a draft report on the alternatives here: Look at the last report at the top Colorado's Water Supply Future - Colorado Water Conservation Board

The surface water of Colorado belongs to all of us, not to the basin where it falls, and the economic prosperity of the whole state is closely tied to what is happening on the Front Range. Conservation is of course the best solution, but will not meet the water supply needs alone. Agricultural transfers are another solution that needs to be explored more fully before we start siphoning the west slope.

We are lucky that AW has a full time staff member working on these issues in CO, Nathan Fey. Please support AW so he can continue his work...

regards
jon
 

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It will make a nice lake fill it full of fish put some homes around it, man ohhh man someone ( company) going to make some money.

Water is the most importain resourse we have. (Conservation) is required. Im sure some of you have seen a list on alt-energy?

Just sayin,,,,
 

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I wonder if any of these guys have considered confined aquifer storage as a better option in lieu of building a big pond with high evaporation rates. Just seems very costly in terms of the environment and efficiency. Thanks for the word.
Parker Water & Sanitation Dist. (PWSD) has considered Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR). Though surrounded by some of the most prolific aquifers in the South Metro area, PWSD just happens to sit in a location where the aquifers are generally poor producers. For example, a couple of years ago they drilled a $1M+ well that only produced about 50 gallons per minute (gpm). This is pretty lousy production compared to nearby wells that pump about 500 - 1000 gpm from the aquifers. The tight geology limits the PWSD's ability to get water into or out of the aquifers, particularly when high flow rates are needed to meet summer "peak" demands.

Until they can obtain "renewable supplies" (surface water) to fill the reservoir, PWSD is actually planning to pump their wells during the winter months and store groundwater in Reuter-Hess reservoir, then drain the reservoir during summmer to meet their peak demands. This will subject the "mined" groundwater to substantial evaporation losses but is the only way they can meet the peak demands with water from their wells. PWSD says they will also eventually use ASR to the extent they can, but ASR is just not a good option for them due to the nature of the geology underlying their district.

-AH
 

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I kayak DH.
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Agreed ,conservation and efficient use over another diversion. Where exactly is it?

Caleb,I can totally understand why you hate [major understatement] the f'ing traffic on I-70,but the water belongs to everybody not you or even necessarily Colorado.People gotta' live somewhere,but they shouldn't be so wasteful of resources.Doesn't your pet creek steal it's water from the Williams Fork.Not trying to pick a fight,you're cool .I hate the sprawl as much as anyone.
Actually, I've got nothing against Denver in particular, I think we should wipe nearly EVERY city off the map!!!!:mrgreen:

The issue imo is the way of life of people in general, they're parasites that destroy their surroundings instead of living with them. I would like to think that people on this site are less prone to this behavior than most, but in any city, this unsustainable way of life becomes more obvious.

The point about the water... is EXACTLY my point, it belongs to the people downstream, the fact that we keep stealing more & more is just plain wrong.

W. fork gets its water from Jones pass, Urad, and Berthoud. The water that comes from William's fork gets diverted into the Vasquez tunnel, then pumped over to Gross res. (I got to know the guy that runs the diversion house @ Williams fork, the tunnel system is CRAZY!!!!)

EVERYBODY on here should read Cadillac desert if you have the time, great book about the stupidity of cities in the west.

btw, didn't take it as picking a fight at all. I tend to be a bit extreme in my responses, but this one I thought was pretty mild...:rolleyes:
 

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All new housing developments and commercial properties in CO should be without sprinkler systems. Makes me sick to drive by the endless Kmarts and Home Depots with their vast green lawns pissing away water in a semi-desert environment.

As for the farmers. Pay them a couple million each for their water rights. It make no sense to be growing crops in the treeless plains of Colorado.
 

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If you remove the water rights from ag lands what do they have left...DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS.

I definatly do not want to see a pipeline from the Green to CO and know that there are other options that can fulfill these needs (like other reservoir expansions, sorry but we have to give somewhere).

However if you remove the water rights from ag lands the only thing left for these farmers and ranchers is to sell their land to developers for subdivisions. I don't know about you all but the last thing I want to see is some of the biggest sections of open lands in CO to be given to subdivisions. We need to find water sources that do not detract from the current working landscapes we still have. Would you rather eat good, healthy food produced locally or get factory farmed meat from Tyson and veggies shipped in from around the world?
 

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I went to a Colorado River Coalition seminar once and was surprised to learn that of all the water in the S Platte drainage (including diversions), only 15% of that is used for residential use, and of that 15%, half was for outside use (ie lawns). I hate sprawl and especially lawns, but it seems to me there is a lot more opportunity with agriculture than residential.

You get a lot more bang for your water buck with produce than with meat. Something to think about as you plug your nose while driving by another factory farm in eastern CO.
 

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"The surface water of Colorado belongs to all of us, not to the basin where it falls"

Perhaps, but if it does, it is only by function of the corrupt history of the creation of a Western water regime which reversed centuries of prohibitions on trans-basin diversions.

Just because "first to exploit" may be the rule imposed by the current regime does not mean it will remain so. The continuing enslavement of remote river basins to serve distant purposes will end, someday.

Great Lakes Environmental Law Center: Transbasin Water Diversions
 

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I love how they are building an empty reservoir without water rights and its supposed to be paid for by future growth (tap fees) from houses that don't exist yet, and those houses are to be bought by people who haven't moved to Colorado yet.

Can you say stock market bubble? Its precisely these kinds of schemes that landed us in this economic mess. They're going to run out of money long before they get close to flaming gorge. Just don't let them get a big federal bailout.
 

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If there wasn't water rights to fill the reservoir how did it get permitted? The article seems to be leaving something out.
 
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