Longmont’s water supply system turns 130

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Here’s a look at the history of Longmont’s water supply from Scott Rochat writing for the Longmont Times-Call. Click through and read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:

Longmont’s prime water source near Lyons filled up and spilled over Button Rock Dam on Monday. That’s an unusual sight this year — the city’s other lakes are between half and two-thirds full, with more demand for water ahead — and a welcome reassurance for the winter months.

It was also a handy way to celebrate Longmont’s water system turning 130, a system that’s grown from a single 6-inch line to a utility that regularly supplies 16 million gallons of water a day to the city’s residents…

When Longmont got its start in 1871, water meant two things: irrigation companies and the St. Vrain Creek. The city’s planners had already done some thinking about the former, buying out an unfinished irrigation ditch and completing it as the Longmont Supply Ditch. The latter, meanwhile, was sufficient in the earliest days of the “colony,” when a light population could easily stay near the creek flow…

A water wagon from Lyons supplemented the local supplies for a while. But when fire ravaged the 300 block of Main Street in 1879, the well and bucket brigades from the creek simply couldn’t keep up. By April 1882, a $70,000 bond had been voted in for the first water line, a 6-inch pipeline from just south of Lyons to the current site of Price Park. That would be enough for about 25 years, until further growth and the start of what became the Great Western sugar refinery made it necessary to run a 12-inch line into town…

During the 2012 drought, possibly the worst since its 2002 predecessor, Longmont adopted no water restrictions. In April, the city projected its present water supply would be sufficient not just through the summer, but through 2014.

More South Platte River basin coverage here and here.

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