SPROWG Feasibility Study Report

Click here to read the report from the South Platte Regional Opportunites Work Group.

Executive Summary
The South Platte Regional Opportunities Water Group (SPROWG) Concept will provide water supplies to meet future municipal and agricultural water needs in the South Platte Basin. Several aspects of the SPROWG Concept were collaboratively researched in this feasibility study (Study) including identification of future water demands, strategies for incorporating environmental and recreational enhancements, needed infrastructure, water treatment strategies, potential costs, governance considerations, and communication needs.

Project Outreach
Extensive outreach was conducted and included meetings with potential future SPROWG participants and stakeholders and a survey that was sent to over 100 municipal, agricultural, environment, and recreation water users and stakeholders. The results of the outreach informed the types of governance structures that could be viable for a future SPROWG organization, the configuration and delivery goals for SPROWG infrastructure, water treatment strategies needed to provide supplies of suitable water quality, and communication and outreach needs.

Communications and outreach are an important aspect to developing the SPROWG Concept and tailoring it to fit the broadest spectrum of water users and needs. A Communications and Outreach Plan was developed that includes goals, suggested stakeholders, recommended near-term activities, recommended activities to facilitate recruitment of participants, recommended key messages, and metrics to track the success of various types of communication. The Communications and Outreach Plan serves to:

  • Educate stakeholders and create awareness needed to refine the recommended governance, operational, and infrastructure concepts.
  • Educate potential SPROWG Concept participants to facilitate recruitment.
  • Educate ratepayers/taxpayers on the need for the SPROWG Concept and funding.
  • Continue stakeholder engagement and transparency to build stakeholder support.
  • Graphic credit: SPROWG

    From The Sterling Journal-Advocate (Jeff Rice):

    The South Platte Regional Opportunities Water Group has released the findings of its year-long study to help bridge the water shortage gap in the South Platte River Basin.

    SPROWG’s study evaluated four concept alternatives that would use a combination of off-channel water storage at multiple locations, infrastructure and water exchanges to develop additional water supplies from the South Platte River.

    The study results were presented to the Colorado Water Conservation Board Thursday in Denver.

    Joe Frank, General Manager of the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District, who oversaw administration of the grant funds that paid for the study, said the purpose of the study was to find as many options as possible that would still be feasible…

    The four water supply alternatives evaluated include multiple linked storage facilities capable of holding between 215,000 and 409,000 acre-feet of water at various locations between Denver and the Colorado Nebraska state line. The water would be transported via a pipeline or through “exchanges” or trading water from one location to another. The study’s alternatives are combinations of four water storage projects: Henderson Storage, Kersey Storage, Balzac Storage and Julesburg Storage. Each is named for the approximate location of the storage facility.

    Alternative One includes Henderson, Kersey and Balzac; Alternative Two is the same three sites but with different capacities at each site. Alternatives Three and Four include all four sites but, again, each with different capacities. Alternatives Two, Three and Four also include a pipeline from the Balzac site to pump 30 cubic feet per second of water upstream to Denver.

    The alternatives seek to efficiently use these sources of in-basin supply without relying on past practices of diverting additional water from the Western Slope or permanently drying up agricultural lands in the South Platte basin…

    The SPROWG study, funded in large part by a grant from the Colorado Water Conservation Board, built upon the work of others who had analyzed various strategies that would develop several types of South Platte water supplies to meet multiple benefits.

    The conceptual cost estimates for the concepts ranged from $18,400 to $22,800 per acre-foot for raw water and $33,600 to $43,200 per acre-foot for treated water, which are in line with other large regional water projects. These costs included the anticipated water treatment strategies that were evaluated to make the water suitable for potable uses. While the most expensive to build, Alternative 4 had the lowest per acre foot cost of the alternatives because it has the highest yield.

    Graphic credit: SPROWG
    Graphic credit: SPROWG

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