Castle Rock: Council releases 481 page analysis of long-term water supply proposals

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From the Castle Rock News-Press (Rhonda Moore):

he 481-page summary was an indication of the job at hand for councilmembers tasked with one of the town’s most important financial decisions in years. “This is the first step in the process,” Town Manager Mark Stevens said. “This will involve multiple other meetings and opportunities for public input. This is a lot of information for everybody to start wrapping their arms around.”

The information included cost projections on full-scale, scaled-back and hybrid proposals from providers Renew Strategies, Stillwater Resources, United Water and the Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency project. Town staff enlisted the help of a team of water attorneys and engineers to help analyze the proposals from the four providers to arrive at a comparative analysis, said Ron Redd, utilities director.

The goal to find a renewable source of water is part of the town’s effort to wean itself of its groundwater supply and become 75 percent reliant on renewable water at the town’s anticipated buildout, Redd said.

From email from United Water and Sanitation District (Robert Lembke):

Castle Rock recently released a 425-page “Legacy Water Projects” report comparing the renewable water systems of the four applicants chosen by the town to submit proposals in August 2011. The Town’s consultants identified United as the only water system that is technically and legally capable of providing the town with 6,000 acre-feet of renewable water in a manner that is economically reasonable for its residents.

The report further confirmed that, by the year 2019, the United system becomes less expensive than the South Metro/WISE/Denver/Aurora proposal. The United system remains less expensive than WISE thereafter in perpetuity.

Under the United proposal, Castle Rock will possess ownership rights to 6,000 acre-feet of renewable water and water infrastructure while the South Metro/WISE/Denver/Aurora proposal leases the town only 3500 acre-feet of renewable water and infrastructure. Castle Rock’s report highlighted that Denver and Aurora would likely maximize their water deliveries to the town in the first few years of each decade, leading to the possibility of “no deliveries for 24 consecutive months” or “no significant deliveries during 35 consecutive months.”

The consultants also concluded that Denver and Aurora’s water delivery schedule under the WISE proposal could require South Metro to obtain up to 73,000 acre feet of storage in Rueter-Hess Reservoir in order to provide reliable water supplies to its members. Although Castle Rock already owns 8,000 acre feet of storage in the reservoir, the town would need to purchase an extra 17,550 acre feet of storage to survive the Denver/Aurora non-delivery years at an estimated additional cost of $87,775,000 – $140,400,000.

Finally, Castle Rock’s water attorneys and engineering consultants expressed serious reservations about any purchase of water from either Renew Strategies, L.L.C. (Lost Creek Basin water) or Stillwater Resources, Inc. (Box Elder Basin) due to significant issues related to the long-term reliability of the systems, lack of existing infrastructure, and poor water quality.

Copies of the Town’s engineering and legal reports discussing these matters in greater detail can be found on the United website.

More South Platte River basin coverage here.

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