#Parker Water & Sanitation District and Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District announce pioneering water partnership #SouthPlatteRiver

The South Platte River Basin is shaded in yellow. Source: Tom Cech, One World One Water Center, Metropolitan State University of Denver.

Here’s the release from the two entities (Deirdre Mueller):

Parker Water & Sanitation District (PWSD) and the
project to use a new water right that the two entities own along the South Platte River near Sterling, Colo. The announcement kicks off a unique collaboration between a Colorado conservancy district and a municipal water provider.

Known as the Platte Valley Water Partnership, the project will make use of new and existing infrastructure to store and transport water for agricultural use in northeastern Colorado and municipal use along the Front Range. The project will increase the renewable water supply for PWSD’s existing and expanding customer base while preserving and supporting agricultural uses in the South Platte River Basin. This renewable water supply is predominately available during spring runoff and major storm events, and would otherwise leave Colorado.

LSPWCD General Manager Joe Frank said of the agreement, “It’s critical for our community to avoid the buy-and-dry issues that have become commonplace. By working together with Parker Water & Sanitation District on an agreement that meets both of our needs, we’ve found a solution that addresses both agricultural and municipal water shortages without further drying up irrigated agriculture.”

“We look forward to working together with Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District,” said PWSD District Manager Ron Redd. “We’ve been guided by the principles laid out in the Colorado Water Plan; by opening up a dialog we discovered we had many shared values and were able to create a regional solution that benefits us all.”

More information about the Platte Valley Water Partnership and the project agreement can be found at https://www.pwsd.org/PVWP.

From The Sterling Journal-Advocate (Jeff Rice):

According to Thursday’s announcement, the project will make use of new and existing infrastructure to store and transport water for agricultural use in northeastern Colorado and municipal use along the Front Range…

The partnership involves the phased development of the water right. The early phases would involve a pipeline from Prewitt Reservoir in Logan and Washington counties to Parker Reservoir, which supplies the City of Parker. Later developments would see a 4,000 acre-foot reservoir near Iliff on land owned by Parker, and a 72,000 acre-foot reservoir near Fremont Butte north of Akron. A pipeline, pump stations, and treatment facility will also be built as part of the project,

The LSPWCD and PWSD have been in talks with each other and with landowners for several years. Lower South Platte general manager Joe Frank publicly briefed his board of directors in December 2019 about progress on the project and negotiations have been ongoing since then.

The project will be used to capture excess water that would otherwise leave Colorado, primarily during spring runoff and storms. Colorado and Nebraska have an interstate compact that requires a certain amount of water to leave the state for downriver users, but in some cases millions of gallons of water in excess of that escape across the state line.

Frank said Thursday the Platte Valley Water Partnership is a win-win for urban and rural water users…

Forecasts show water supplies will not keep pace with demand by 2050 for agricultural (Ag) or municipal and industrial (M & I) needs if Colorado does not find new approaches. Source: 2019 Analysis and Technical Update to the Colorado Water Plan.

PWSD District Manager Ron Redd said the project is in line with Colorado’s Water Plan, a 2015 document that provides guidelines for providing an adequate water supply for the state’s growth through 2050.

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