Supporters of the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) rally in Fort Lupton

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From KUNC (Kirk Siegler):

“This isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue, this is a Colorado issue,” said Fort Lupton Mayor Tom Holton. The rally under the blistering sun took place at the Fort Lupton Historic site – an adobe replica of a fur-trading post along the South Platte River between Denver and Greeley…

Saving farms is one of the main arguments put forth by cities and districts like Left Hand backing the estimated $400 million NISP project. The idea being that if these cities and districts had their own water supplies, they wouldn’t have to buy up all the farmers’ water…

“There is no water left in our rivers and that’s what we have to come to grips with and find a new path forward,” [Gary Wockner] says…

Backers of NISP say other proposals floated by environmentalists such as water leasing from farms still won’t meet the region’s long-term needs.

From The Denver Post (Monte Whaley):

The Army Corps delivered its latest assessment in a letter to Gov. John Hickenlooper, who wanted to know when the impact statement would be completed. That’s a sign that Hickenlooper and the cities and towns that would benefit from NISP want the project done…

Northern Water is a chief proponent of NISP, which calls for the Cache La Poudre to be diverted during high-flow periods to fill two proposed reservoirs, Glade Reservoir northwest of Fort Collins and Galenton Reservoir east of Ault. The latest cost of the project is at $490 million. At least 15 northern Colorado water providers also back NISP, believing it will sustain them during times of drought…

However, a comprehensive review of NISP was expected to attract a similar review by the Corps, [Brian Werner] said. “We’ve never been held to a hard and fast deadline,” he said. “What I am hearing from the 15 communities and the governor, is ‘Hey, let’s get this thing done.’ “

From the Northern Colorado Business Report:

“The current drought throughout Northern Colorado has brought home a stark reality – we need more water storage and soon,” Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway has said. “Without it our children and grandchildren’s future will be at risk.”[…]

Meanwhile, Weld County farmers have struggled to maintain their crops during the drought. Crop insurance claims are up, people in the industry say, despite overflowing groundwater wells that remain shut off to Weld farmers.

The project “would provide the water storage we need to support Northern Colorado’s growing communities and provide protection to economies and families when the weather turns dry,” Rep. Cory Gardner said in a statement.

From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Ashley Keesis-Wood):

During the July 16 work session, the [Windsor] town board spent some time refreshing itself on a topic that hasn’t gotten a lot of traction in the last couple of years: the status of the Northern Integrated Supply Project…

Windsor has been a player in Northern Water since its formation and is currently a 8.25 percent shareholder in the project…

The project will cost an estimated $500 million, and that cost will be borne by participants in the project, in proportion to the amount of water they’re requesting from NISP. Windsor’s share of water is 3,300 acre-feet, which comes to about $40 million. There are, Brouwer said, multiple ways to fund the project, including special bond financing, loans or upfront payment…

In short, [Carl Brouwer] said he hopes the project will be producing water by 2018. “Glade would be built and completed by then, and we’d be completely finished with all construction by 2022 or 2023,” Brouwer said. “We can postpone a phase or two as needed, depending on the financial capacity of the partners involved.”

Thus far, Windsor has contributed about $933,000 to the project. Once the project is online, Windsor and other participants will enter into allotment contracts where the shares of water become tangible assets that can be bought and sold within the boundaries of the Northern Water district…

The 3,300 acre-feet that Windsor is in for in NISP is enough water to basically double Windsor’s water allotment from the Colorado Big Thompson Project and its other water sources, allowing the town’s population to essentially double, as well.

Board member Don Thompson asked whether there were negative implications from buying town water from other sources. “We’re paying other entities to treat the water we already own,” said Dennis Wagner, engineering director. “We’re not buying water from other entities.”

More Northern Integrated Supply Project coverage here and here.

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