Southern Delivery System update: Construction starting in earnest this summer

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From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

Construction crews this week began work on the $2.3 billion Southern Delivery System. It is designed to pump water uphill and north from Pueblo Reservoir — through a 62-mile pipeline — to sustain Colorado Springs, which owns the rights to the river water, and other growing Front Range cities. The cities embarked on this project because water supplies have emerged as a constraint on population growth.

CH2MHill project engineers and construction chiefs at Pueblo Reservoir this week re-channelled the river below the 240-foot-high dam using sandbags. They’re adjusting dam valves to dry an area so that digging crews can start laying the pipeline without relying on expensive underwater divers. Three 15,000-horsepower pumps are to propel the water through a pressurized 66-inch-diameter steel pipeline. Moving water to the planned end points — two 30,000 acre-foot reservoirs to be built east of Colorado Springs — requires an elevation gain of 1,600 feet…

The Pueblo Reservoir, built in 1975, holds 357,000 acre-feet of water, and the diversion is expected to lower the average water level by about six feet…

Meanwhile, the $50 million for cleaning and restoration of Fountain Creek could enable new recreation, reservoirs and fishing, [Pueblo County Commissioner John Cordova said. “We could have trout,” he said…

Environmental groups “are generally satisfied,” as long as Colorado Springs live up to its commitments to ensure appropriate water levels in the Arkansas River above and below the reservoir, Trout Unlimited water project director Drew Peternell said.
Huge amounts of energy required to pump water uphill, however, looms as “a greenhouse gas issue,” Peternell said. “We’d encourage them to consider renewable sources” of electricity, he said.

More Southern Delivery System coverage here and here.

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