The Pueblo Board of Water Works hopes to finalize policy for large water users at their February meeting

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The revised policy would charge large water users $16,200 per acre-foot for water use above 520 acre-feet annually either for potable or raw water. The charge up to the first 520 acre-feet is $1,233 per acre-foot. The difference in the rates reflects the cost of acquiring and developing new water determined in a study that was done about five years ago. The previous rate was based on a study from the 1980s, said Terry Book, deputy executive director. The new policy would also give the water board the opportunity to waive part of the fees, based on the economic benefits such as jobs that new customers would bring to the community. The water board now routinely approves a moratorium on fees for new industries, and board members had concerns about whether there would be flexibility in applying the new rates…

While the Pueblo water board has acquired additional water through the purchase of Bessemer Ditch shares, those are set aside for long-range growth. A new, extreme demand could require additional purchases of water rights either by the new customer or the water board…

The city of Pueblo, Evraz Pueblo and the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo are the largest users on the city water system.

Here’s a look at Black Hills Energy’s water use from Christopher Burke writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

When water is removed from a natural stream system, such as the Arkansas River, it is either returned to that source in the same quantity in which it was removed, or it is not. The former is known as non-consumptive use and typically includes things such as hydroelectric power production and cooling water for steam power plants. Our W.N. Clark Plant and Pueblo 5 and 6 plants are of this type and use river water only for once-through cooling before returning the same water back to the Arkansas River. The latter is known as consumptive use and includes water that has been evaporated such that it is not available for immediate reuse. The new Pueblo Generation Facilities operate this way and will consume, on average, a total of 400 gallons per minute, according to 2012 estimates. Additionally, these facilities minimize any potential burden they might otherwise place on the municipal water treatment system through the use of zero-discharge technologies, which process all wastewater on site without discharging it back to the municipal sewage system for reprocessing…

As a matter of contingency, Black Hills Energy has alternative access to a contracted water supply. If water were to become scarce due to drought, we have the capability, both operationally and technologically, to use air-cooling technology originally pioneered by Black Hills Energy’s sister company, Black Hills Power, in Gillette, Wyo. Such technology reduces or eliminates the need for large-volume cooling water in exchange for slightly diminished plant efficiency performance. The new location of the Pueblo Generation Facilities, away from the Arkansas River Basin and flood plain, also mitigates any potential risks to our operations in the event of flooding

Finally, the board finished 2011 in a strong financial position. Here’s a report from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. Here’s an excerpt:

The Pueblo Board of Water Works finished 2011 with $1.39 million more in revenues than were projected in the budget…

Most of the increase in revenue, more than $1 million, came because of increased sales to water customers trying to keep lawns green through a hot, dry summer. Consumption totalled 8.8 billion gallons in 2011, about 7 percent above the five-year average. Customers paid $21.6 million for the water, about 69 percent of total revenues of $31.2 million…

Sales of water on the spot market also exceeded expectations, generating $1.6 million, more than twice the amount projected. The water board also made $144,000 more on miscellaneous revenues, primarily the sale of scrap.

More Pueblo Board of Water Works coverage here.

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