Metro Roundtable reception recap: ‘We’ve had water issues in Colorado, but we’ve never had a crisis because we have planning’ –John Stulp


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“We’ve had water issues in Colorado, but we’ve never had a crisis because we have planning,” state water adviser John Stulp said Thursday. “Water is one of those essential things for life, and we all have an opinion about it.”[…]

Stulp praised the Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency, or WISE, partnership among Denver, Aurora and 15 South Metro water suppliers as a new example of collaboration that will help prevent more encroachment of city needs into water supplies needed for agriculture and recreation. Historically, the state’s great water projects arose from a need followed by years of planning and major changes in how water policy developed, Stulp said…

Stulp noted that the Chinese character for crisis combines the symbols for danger and opportunity. “I see that we have great opportunities in the future of water for Colorado,” Stulp said. “There’s only going to be enough water through cooperation and collaboration.”

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

“They [South Metro water providers] all rely on the same diminishing groundwater supplies,” explained Joe Stibrich, deputy director for water resources at Aurora Water. “The WISE partnership uses existing capacities. . . . It’s the largest conservation program in the state.”
Stibrich explained the WISE partnership at a public presentation of the Metro Roundtable Thursday at Metro State College. More than 200 people attended.

The partnership is possible because Aurora has built the Prairie Waters Project, a $650 million system that captures reusable wastewater flows, treats them and returns them to the water supply. “Prairie Waters was first identified as a project to meet Aurora’s needs,” Stibrich said. “It’s a drought hardening process that gives us supplies we can rely on, but don’t always need.”

The WISE partnership will allow the South Metro communities to purchase an average of 10,000 acre-feet annually from Denver and Aurora. Eventually, that could be as much as 60,000 acre-feet. It also gives Denver a firm supply of 15,000 acre-feet during drought years through the Prairie Waters Project, while protecting all of Aurora’s interests in the project. During a drought, the South Metro users will still have their groundwater resources to fall back on. Many of the individual water districts in the group have continued to search for other sources.

More IBCC — basin roundtables coverage here.

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