Public comment sought on Moffat Project

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Here’s the release from Denver Water (Stacy Chesney):

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Denver Water’s Moffat Collection System Project, which proposes to enlarge Gross Reservoir north of Boulder.

Denver Water is proposing the project to help resolve three major water supply challenges it is facing:

1. the risk of a near-term water supply shortfall;
2. the risk of running out of water in the north end of its system during a single dry year;
3. and a serious imbalance in its water collection system, in which about 80 percent of the supply exists on the south side of the system.

The project is part of Denver Water’s multi-pronged water strategy to increase supply and decrease demand by implementing an aggressive conservation plan, completing and expanding its recycled water distribution system and developing additional water supply.

“Our customers have done an excellent job of conserving water, and we have been completing our recycled water system,” said David Little, director of planning. “These strategies are helping extend our supplies into the future. It is imperative, however, that we develop additional supply to correct the imbalance in our system and secure water for our future. We believe the best solution is to produce new water supply by expanding an existing reservoir instead of building a new reservoir.”

The Moffat Collection System Project proposes raising Gross Dam by approximately 125 feet. Gross Reservoir is fed by tributaries of the Colorado River and South Boulder Creek, and feeds the north side of Denver Water’s system. If approved, the Moffat Project would produce 18,000 acre-feet of new supply — enough water for roughly 45,000 households annually.

“We have been working with interest groups and local agencies to develop plans to offset environmental impacts of the Moffat Project and to provide significant environmental enhancements for the communities affected by the project,” said Little. “Denver Water is committed to encouraging wise use of the water we serve and to using our facilities and resources to enhance the environment in the watersheds we use.”

Denver Water, Grand County, the cities of Boulder and Lafayette, environmental groups and others still are discussing the proposed environmental enhancements, which go far beyond what the Corps requires for mitigating impacts caused by the Moffat Collection System Project. These enhancements will benefit tributaries to the Colorado River in Grand County and South Boulder Creek in Boulder County, among other locations.

The enhancements offered by Denver Water include:

– up to 2,000 acre-feet of additional water for augmenting streamflow in Grand County;
– $2 million for improving water quality in Grand County;
– $2 million for stream modifications to improve aquatic habitat in Grand County; and
– a partnership with Boulder and Lafayette to provide 5,000 acre-feet of storage space in an enlarged Gross Reservoir to improve aquatic habitat in South Boulder Creek.

Denver Water is encouraging public participation in the two federal regulatory processes occurring for the Moffat Collection System Project. The two processes are:

An amendment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Gross Reservoir hydropower license<br.
An application for a Clean Water Act Section 404 permit with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
The Draft EIS and Draft FERC Hydropower License Amendment were published Friday, Oct. 30. Each document has a 90-day comment period ending Jan. 28, 2010.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold three Public Hearings on the Draft EIS. At each location, Denver Water will hold an Open House from 4 to 6 p.m. The Public Hearings begin at 6 p.m.:

Tues., Dec. 1 — Boulder Country Club, 7350 Clubhouse Road, Boulder, CO 80301
Wed., Dec. 2 — Inn at Silver Creek, 62927 U.S. Highway 40, Granby, CO 80446
Thurs., Dec. 3 — Doubletree Hotel, 3203 Quebec Street, Denver, CO 80207

See more information on how to comment on the Draft EIS and Draft FERC Amendment.

More Moffat Collection System Project coverage here.

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