Southern Delivery System: Colorado Springs Utilities lays out the conditions to share the pipeline facilities

Southern Delivery System map via Colorado Springs Utilities
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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Colorado Springs Utilities’ position is that new users would provide their own water and storage; meet all the environmental, land-use and federal contracting requirements, and not impede Colorado Springs Utilities water operations and must provide a financial benefit to our customers. Colorado Springs City Council would have to individually approve each application.

In May, the Colorado Springs City Council, sitting as the Utilities Board, agreed to change its policy to allow more flexibility to offer water-related services to other water providers in the region. That ended a long-standing policy that limited water service to the city’s boundaries other than for emergencies or special circumstances and opens new questions about how SDS could be used. The road map for the change was drawn after months of deliberation by the Utilities Policy Advisory Committee, which authored a white paper on regional water delivery in April. During presentations, Colorado Springs made it clear there would be additional capacity in the SDS pipeline to bring water to other communities. At one meeting, Wayne Vanderschuere, Colorado Springs Utilities Water Resources Manager, said there would be available space in the 50-mile pipeline from Pueblo Dam to El Paso County during the winter months, and that off-season pumping would be a way to even out flows and allow full use of the pipeline…

Colorado Springs has not solicited participation, but there has been interest as communities acquire water rights in the Arkansas Valley. The Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority and El Paso County Water Authority provided input for the white paper. Among communities not in SDS that have water rights purchases or pending contracts in the Arkansas Valley are Donala, Widefield and Woodmoor water districts…

The report also reveals that Colorado Springs would need new sources to meet population projections beginning in the 2040 decade. Those sources could include new purchases of water rights, sales of water through lease agreements with the Super Ditch or other entities, physical reuse or other options, Vanderschuere said…

Regional water service would provide financial relief for Colorado Springs’ ratepayers and open the door for other regional water cooperation, such as the lingering issue of stormwater control, the report states.

More coverage from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

he Bureau of Reclamation has received 19 comments on the Southern Delivery System since negotiations with Colorado Springs began in May. The number contrasts sharply with the nearly 400 comments received in 2008 while Reclamation was preparing an environmental impact statement, and the comments are divided between support or criticism of the project. Only three people have spoken during public comment periods during the negotiations: Marilyn June of Pueblo, Pueblo Chieftain Assistant Publisher Jane Rawlings and Walter Lawson, a Colorado Springs resident.

More Southern Delivery System coverage here and here.

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