From the Loveland Reporter-Herald (Tom Hacker):
Green-thinking cities including Loveland that own the Platte River Power Authority electric utility are pressing for conversion of its generating plants from dirty coal to clean-burning natural gas. PRPA policy represents but a tiny portion of the forces driving production of natural gas, a $9 billion Colorado industry that has been pushed ahead by improvements in a technology called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” The technology, more akin to mining than drilling, requires water — and lots of it.
As gas producers expand their operations into the western fringe of the Wattenberg field in Larimer and Boulder counties, their demands for water reach into municipalities up and down the Front Range, Loveland among them. “We’re not selling as much as other providers, because we’re further away from most of the activity,” said Loveland water resources engineer Greg Dewey. “But it has become a significant source of income for us.”[…]
…the dominant supplier of water to the industry, Fort Lupton-based A&W Water Service Inc., sends its tanker trucks to Loveland on a regular basis to load water at designated city hydrants to take to drilling sites. On Friday, two truck crews were tapping a metered hydrant just north of the roundabout at Sculptor Drive and First Street, each drawing 6,200 gallons of treated water into their tanks. The water was destined for a drilling site just north of U.S. 34, a quarter-mile east of the Larimer-Weld county line for Petroleum Development Corp…
Loveland water manager Dewey said A&W and other suppliers draw about 2 million gallons monthly, a tiny fraction of what other municipalities in the region provide. They pay at the rate of $1 for 300 gallons, more than twice what Loveland homeowners pay for their usage. And, the industry’s purchases from Loveland make scarcely a dent in the city’s supply. “We want to make sure we have adequate supplies for our residents first,” Dewey said. “We see this alternative as a way to maintain service to our customers at reasonable rates.”