Two things should have happened. Either the project should never have been allowed to get as far as it did, or the state should have intervened to help produce needed water. Even before Lend Lease was chosen as the developer in 2006, state officials were well aware of the lack of available water for the project. In this part of the state, there are two possible sources of water for development of any significance: Aurora and Colorado Springs. The project is really too far from Colorado Springs to be financially feasible. That leaves Aurora.
Aurora is in the process of building its massive Prairie Waters Project, bringing water from downstream of the South Platte River. Part of that plan calls for a future reservoir in the vicinity of the existing Aurora Reservoir, just north of the defunct Lowry Bombing Range project. The state could easily have ponied up in some fashion to share in the expense of Prairie Waters and the new reservoir, but didn’t. Such a partnership could have provided the sustainable water supply that any significant development on this land will require.
Instead, the state allowed the deal to die and now must pay Lend Lease millions for its trouble. What a waste. State land board officials say the work completed by Lend Lease could be helpful for a future project, but there clearly will never be one without a water deal.