Southern Delivery System: Pueblo Board of Water Works approves agreements

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The Pueblo Board of Water Works has approved two agreements related to Colorado Springs’ proposed Southern Delivery System. Here’s a report from Chris Woodka writing for the Pueblo Chieftain:

The remaining local action on SDS will come if Pueblo County commissioners approve conditions. The commissioners will host a public hearing tonight at 6 p.m. at the Pueblo County Courthouse and review conditions proposed by county staff. The conditions are posted on the county’s Web site.

The Colorado Springs City Council still must approve both the water board agreements and county conditions before SDS would begin. The $1.1 billion project would also need other permits and final approval and contracts from the Bureau of Reclamation before work could begin. The water board agreements would guarantee flows through Pueblo and allow the water board to participate in the proposed North Outlet Works, which Colorado Springs proposes to build at the north outlet, also called the river outlet, on Pueblo Dam…

Each agreement takes the form of a memorandum of understanding, which is a contract that implies those who sign it will take a particular action. The Arkansas River low flow program would establish a pool of water in Lake Pueblo jointly maintained by Colorado Springs and Pueblo. Each would contribute, when the supply is available, 1,500 acre-feet of water that could be released when flows in the Arkansas River drop below 50 cubic feet per second. The agreement would go beyond the current Pueblo flow program, set up in 2004, which curtails exchanges when flows drop below 100 cfs, but not require additional water in the river. Aurora, Fountain and the Southeastern District also participate in that program. Commissioners would require Security and Pueblo West to sign on to the program, along with any future SDS users. Water that is either released or voluntarily not exchanged under either program could be recaptured in the recovery of yield program under the existing and new agreements…

The second SDS agreement approved Tuesday addresses the Pueblo water board’s concerns about the Joint Use Manifold, which is the primary water delivery system for the city. Colorado Springs, in its 2008 proposal for SDS, indicated it wanted initially to use excess capacity in the outlet south of the Arkansas River for its water supply, even though the city paid Pueblo $3 million in 2000 to enlarge its line from the outlet works to accommodate its use by tapping into the line east of the Pueblo Dam. Pueblo, Pueblo West and the Fountain Valley Authority currently use the south outlet. In the future, Pueblo and the Arkansas Valley Conduit would get more capacity. Late last year, however, Colorado Springs said it would prefer to build the North Outlet Works, a new outlet that would supply up to 96 million gallons per day for Colorado Springs, Security, Fountain and Pueblo West. The outlet would also continue to supply water to the river and could be adapted to provide hydroelectric power in the future, according to engineers who worked on the concept. The outlet was tested last week to prove its capacity of about 1,100 cfs. A full run under SDS would use about 147 cfs of that capacity. The new agreement requests engineering cost estimates for Pueblo to gain 20 million-40 million gallons per day capacity from the North Outlet Works.

Pueblo pumps an average of about 25 million gallons per day, with peak days of about 60 million gallons per day. In recent years, since the 2002 drought, pumpage has been declining because customers have adjusted their outdoor watering habits. The water board wants the redundancy in case the Joint Use Manifold is inoperable because of invasive mussels, repairs or other unforeseen events.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here, here and here.

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