Southern Delivery System: Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce calls the project an economic driver for El Paso County

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Update From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Daniel Chacón):

“The findings of this report indicate new water supply capacity is critical to support future economic development,” according to Summit Economics, LLC, which prepared the report. The report, which cost $15,000 was funded primarily by Colorado Springs Utilities, which is building SDS, a 62-mile pipeline between the city and Pueblo Reservoir. The Center for Regional Advancement, an arm of the pro-SDS Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, and the Pueblo Board of Water Works also contributed money, said Stephannie Finley, the chamber’s president of governmental affairs and public policy…

…the report also found that the project will come at a heavy price. “While the financial impact of SDS on water rates is consistent with past water projects in Colorado Springs, it is a large amount of money that impacts area households, companies and organizations,” the report states. “Lower income homeowner households and water intensive businesses are impacted disproportionately. This creates hardships, especially with a utility rate structure that cannot discriminate between economic classes or business types.”

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The Center for Regional Advancement commissioned a report on the economic impacts of SDS by Summit Economics LLC that shows water demand by 2050 would increase about 125 percent without SDS, compared with 175 percent with SDS. Summit Economics partners include Dave Bamberger, Tucker Hart Adams, Mike Anderson, Tom Binnings and Paul Rochette…

The report was released this week partly because of concern about upcoming mayoral and council elections, said Stephanie Finley, executive director of the center…

“The Southern Delivery System has been two decades in the making, and we believed it was time for an independent analysis of the economic impact of SDS, now and for the future,” added Martin Wood, chairman of the center’s board…

The center concluded that SDS is necessary for reliability of water supply for the future growth of Colorado Springs, which affects the entire region. Without SDS, the reduced water demand would mean a reduction in the rate of growth by about 41 percent…

The Summit Economics analysis predicts that Colorado Springs would gain 107,000 less people without SDS by 2050. That still implies there would be some population growth, just not as rapidly as what would occur if SDS is built. The growth rate would decline because of reduced jobs for current families, fewer military retirees, manufacturers locating elsewhere, fewer small business opportunities and slowdown in construction and home-building industries, according to the report…

The Summit Economics Report stresses the interconnected nature of El Paso County with its neighbors. While Colorado Springs dominates the economic landscape with $50.3 billion in sales — compared with $10.3 billion in Pueblo County, $2.4 billion in Fremont County, and $1.3 billion in Teller County — there is about $1.5 billion in trade among the four counties…

Colorado Springs’ demand for water peaked at 85 million gallons per day in 2000, but has slowed to around 70 million gallons per day since the drought of 2002. The capacity of the system is rated at about 90 million gallons per day. Colorado Springs Utilities estimates its needs will exceed supply by 2016, when it is scheduled to complete SDS. Work already has started on some portions of the project. However, if the rate of growth in demand for water follows the track for the past 25 years, demand would remain under the 90 million gallon-per-day threshold until at least 2030, according to the report. Utilities’ projection more closely follows the steep increase that the city experienced in the 1995-2000 period.

More Southern Delivery System coverage here and here.

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