Fountain Creek: ‘What things are they doing to rein in the floodwaters that arrive in Pueblo County’ — Terry Hart

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Less than $2 million of the $46 million in stormwater projects on Colorado Springs’ list meet the criteria set out by Pueblo County commissioners for a 1041 permit for the Southern Delivery System.

The commissioners instructed water attorney Ray Petros to review the list submitted this week to commissioners and Pueblo City Council and he determined that most projects related to either the Waldo Canyon Fire or internal Colorado Springs issues.

“As a starting point, what we’re looking for is a list of major projects that have a significant impact for Pueblo County,” said Commission Chairman Terry Hart. “What things are they doing to rein in the floodwaters that arrive in Pueblo County and to assure water quality?”

The county still wants an accounting of the scope of stormwater control that was envisioned prior to 2009. While Waldo Canyon creates a new set of problems, Colorado Springs had agreed to address past problems on Fountain Creek through the stormwater enterprise, Hart said. Commissioner Sal Pace shared those concerns, adding that Colorado Springs needs to provide evidence of long-term funding, rather than shortterm emergency funds.

“That’s one-time money. What they need to do is show how there will be a continuous supply,” Pace said.

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

In response to criticism of his city’s stormwater efforts, Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach visited with several Pueblo community leaders Friday to make the case that the city is working on a stormwater solution. Bach was accompanied by Colorado Springs Council President Keith King, Councilman Merv Bennett and City Attorney Chris Melcher. “What we’re working on are steps to develop a full and definite plan that we can take to voters,” Bach said. “We want to make sure that we’re taking the best approach.”

Bach stressed that the Waldo Canyon Fire, which destroyed 347 homes in Colorado Springs last summer, is the top priority. But the city also realizes its commitment to protect downstream users from disastrous floods. Bach has initiated an independent study after a regional study found nearly $700 million in stormwater needs for Colorado Springs and $900 million for El Paso County. He wants Colorado Springs, not a new regional authority, to confront the problem.

Bach acknowledged the fact that development in Colorado Springs, coupled with the burn scar from the Waldo Canyon Fire, has increased the risk of more dangerous floods on Fountain Creek.

Colorado Springs has to come up with a way to continue annual funding to address stormwater needs that had been identified before 2009, when Pueblo County issued a 1041 permit for the Southern Delivery System predicated on the idea that a stormwater enterprise was in place.

Melcher said the Colorado Springs City Council’s hands were tied by voters in November 2009 that effectively eliminated the stormwater enterprise approved by council in 2005.

Bennett said a sustainable funding source for stormwater projects is needed, and King, a former state legislator, suggested several ways that up-front funding could be leveraged.

Bach promised to share more specific information about what Colorado Springs intends to do by no later than this fall.

More Fountain Creek coverage here and here.

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