From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Kevin Gertig):
Fort Collins is located in a semi-arid region where the amount of water available from month to month and year to year varies, especially during dry years and drought. Fort Collins Utilities has a responsibility to provide an adequate supply of water to existing and future customers; we made long-term water supply an essential element of our planning efforts decades ago.
For more than a century, Utilities has used an integrated approach to manage our water supply, including:
•Securing senior rights on the Poudre River,
•Purchasing and improving an existing storage facility on the upper Poudre (Joe Wright Reservoir),
•Acquiring nearly 19,000 units of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, and
•Establishing water conservation programs beginning in the late 1970s.
Recent updates to the Water Supply and Demand Management Policy, which provides direction to meet our community’s future water demands, identified the need for additional long-term water storage. Though the community actively conserves water year-round, storage is a valuable tool in water resources planning. Adequate storage helps meet projected demands and provides reserves for unexpected events, including pipeline failure, fires in the watershed or issues with Horsetooth Reservoir.
This policy also references Utilities’ Water Conservation Plan, which lays out a significant expansion of the water conservation program and targets residential and commercial customers, as well as indoor and outdoor water use.
Water conservation helps ensure the wise use of available water, especially during dry, hot summer months when little moisture is available. Although conservation helps stretch our water supply, Utilities’ current limited storage capacity means conserved water cannot be stored for future use.
If the Halligan Water Supply Project is permitted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and approved by City Council, it will help meet Fort Collins’ future water needs. Careful planning and analysis determined that enlarging Halligan Reservoir is one of the most cost-effective solutions that minimizes environmental impacts compared to constructing a new one. The project also will provide storage of mostly existing water rights and be tailored in size and operations for our specific needs.
Fort Collins Utilities is proud of its strong conservation ethic, which provides a solid foundation for the management of our current and future water use in the Poudre River Basin. Through continued conservation efforts, smart water management and additional storage capacity, such as the Halligan Water Supply Project, Utilities will be prepared to meet the future water needs of our community.
For more information, visit http://fcgov.com/halligan.
More South Platte River Basin coverage here.