Douglas County to developers: Focus more on a renewable supply

Denver Basin aquifer map
Denver Basin aquifer map

From The Golden Transcript (Jessica Gibbs):

The county held a late afternoon public workshop on Nov. 14 for proposed changes to the county’s water zoning plan.

Conversation was diligent and thorough, despite a sparsely attended meeting of six people in addition to county staff.

The exact portion of the plan under review is Section 18A, which helps determine if a proposed development has an adequate water supply, particularly in terms of quality, quantity and dependability. Douglas County’s Board of Commissioners first adopted 18A in 1998, but it has been revised in 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2013.

County experts said the regulations are primarily for new housing developments or properties seeking to rezone for reasons like expansion. Additionally, they mostly pertain to unincorporated Douglas County, as most municipalities or other water districts have their own regulations.

The main changes in Section 18A were to remove about 15 pages of repetitive sections and more clearly explain if a developer would qualify.

But staff also has proposed Section 18B, an entirely new set of regulations that will act as an alternative to Section 18A.

As the resolution stands, developers must meet a water demand standard of .75 acre-feet per residence per year.

A demand standard is an estimate of how much water a household or development will need, said Kati Rider, a planning resource supervisor with Douglas County.

An acre-foot is how water is measured. One way to think of it, Rider said, is to imagine it as the equivalent to the amount of water that woud spread across an acre of land at one foot deep.

However, county staff said, the average household uses closer to .40 or .45 acre-feet. The .75 standard is costly for developers and may require them to source more water than necessary.

“This revision may matter to residents as it may be a way to encourage new development to utilize renewable water resources, rather than groundwater, in all areas of the county,” Rider said.

Under 18B, developers could propose higher-density developments if they also promise to use less groundwater, rely on more renewable water sources and prove they can accomplish that goal.

Not more than 50 percent of the water supply could come from non-renewable sources. Although the overall amount of water use might be greater, the hope is to encourage a more environmental approach.

If the amendments continue to gain traction, they would pass before the Planning Commission and the Board of Commissioners for final approval.

Public comment is accepted at http://www.douglas.co.us through Nov. 23. Information aboutthe amendments may be found through the county’s Project Records Online (PRO) online tool.

Commissioners will schedule a work session to review the input after public comment closes.

douglascounty

South Metro drops plans to export Ark Valley water — The Pueblo Chieftain

WISE System Map via the South Metro Water Supply Authority
WISE System Map via the South Metro Water Supply Authority

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

A new long-term plan by the South Metro Water Supply Authority, which serves 13 water providers in the greater Denver-Aurora area, avoids any mention of taking water from the Arkansas River basin.

That’s significant, because the group’s 2007 master plan included two possible pipeline routes from the Arkansas River basin as a way of filling future water supply needs. Located in some of the fastest-growing areas of Colorado, South Metro’s population increased to 325,000 in 2016 from 250,000 in 2005.

South Metro communities were built on water from the Denver Basin aquifer, but began shifting their focus to finding new renewable supplies, conservation and increasing efficiency as ways to stretch their supplies.

“I think our members wanted to focus on projects that are on a foreseeable timetable,” said Eric Hecox, executive director of the authority. “The study confirms our region’s tremendous progress toward securing a sustainable water future. There is more to be done, but there is no question we are on the right path.”

With Pure Cycle’s sale of its Fort Lyon Canal water rights last year, no South Metro member has any projects planned in the Arkansas Valley. Pure Cycle is connected to the emerging Rangeview district east of Aurora.

Annual demand for South Metro is expected to more than double to 120,000 acre-feet (39 billion gallons) by 2065. Increased storage, expanded use of the WISE agreement with Denver and Aurora and continuing conservation efforts are expected to fill 38,400 acre-feet in the next 50 years.

The WISE agreement allows South Metro areas to reuse return flows from the Denver area through Aurora’s Prairie Waters Project. Reuter-Hess Reservoir and the East Cherry Creek Valley pipeline have opened new ways to use water. Per capita use in the South Metro area has decreased 30 percent since 2000.

Another 30,000 acre-feet annually of new supplies still are needed by 2065, according to the revised master plan released Tuesday. About two-thirds of that supply is identified in existing projects, but the plan proposes finding the remainder through cooperative agreements with other users in the South Platte and through the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement, Hecox said.

Finally, individual members of the South Metro group are developing innovative solutions. For instance, Sterling Ranch is harvesting rainwater and incorporating conservation into land-use design. Other communities have initiated landscape regulations and some are even paying property owners to remove turf or plants that use excessive amounts of water. Some rate structures have been changed to promote conservation.

The new plan fits in with Colorado’s Water Plan, which seeks collaborative solutions rather than buying agricultural water rights and drying up farmland.

“A remarkable transformation is happening in the South Metro region,” said James Eklund, executive director of the Colorado Water Conservation board. “Colorado’s Water Plan calls for innovative water management and this study demonstrates how this important region is transitioning to a more sustainable water supply.”

Triview Metropolitan District enacts emergency water restrictions

Water infrastructure as sidewalk art
Water infrastructure as sidewalk art

From KOAA.com (Andy Koen):

Neighboring water districts in the Monument area sending help to the Triview Metro District which enacted emergency restrictions Tuesday amid an unexpected water shortage.

The Town of Monument notified residents via Facebook that the Donala Water District, which has a connection with Triview, will open their line temporarily to help during the shortage. The Town of Monument does not have a direct connection with Triview, but manager Chris Howe said they will send some utility workers to help where needed.

Triview District Manager Valerie Remington said the district noticed a spike in demand in mid-June. There was another peak on Monday diminishing the water supply to an emergency level.

Remington said there were no obvious signs of a major pipe break. They have not filed a report of a water theft with local law enforcement, but Remington said they have not ruled out the possibility.

“We haven’t ruled out any of the different possibilities right now,” she said. “I can’t say, since we don’t know what it is, I can’t say what it is what else I can’t say what it isn’t.”

Triview recently charged a transmission line to service the new Sanctuary Point development. Remington said no houses have been built there and the district ruled out that line a source of the sudden drop in supply.

Under the emergency restrictions, customers are prohibited from outdoor watering. Customers who violate the restriction will be warned on their first offense. Second offenses carry a $50 fine, third offenses a $500 fine and all subsequent offenses will be fined $750.

From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Kaitlin Durbin):

Outside watering is suspended for Monument residents.

Following a period of high usage, the Triview Metropolitan District has restricted outside watering “until further notice,” according to its website.

“We are continuing to experience a water problem and are asking that all residents stop outside watering until we are able to correct the issue,” the district said.

According to Gazette news partner KKTV, a spike in use around the holiday is to blame.

The district said demand among its 4,200 customers has risen to about 2 million gallons of water per day. Just one of the district’s eight wells has the capacity to pump 1.8 million gallons of water each day, KKTV reported.

“The restrictions went into place on July 4 as we noticed that our tank levels were always getting lower and we were having trouble recovering,” District Manager Valerie Remington told KKTV.

Monument: Consumption exceeds Triview’s Denver Basin well capacity

Denver Basin aquifer map
Denver Basin aquifer map

From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Chhun Sun):

The district used about 2 million gallons of water a day over the last two weeks.

The district’s eight wells – located in Denver and Arapahoe – produce a daily pump of 1.8 million gallons.

“Recent water demand within the Triview Metropolitan District has far exceeded anything that the district has experienced in the past,” the district stated. “For the time being, the district, as a whole, needs to reduce usage overall to ensure that sufficient water tank storage can be maintained to supply more critical household needs and potential fire fighting requirements.”

The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District first learned about the water restrictions Friday.

#ColoradoRiver: Will Denver’s future water reservoirs lie underfoot and not behind dams? — The Mountain Town News

Denver photo via Allen Best
Denver photo via Allen Best

From The Mountain Town News (Allen Best):

We think of reservoirs as bodies of water, places created by dams where you can go sailing or fishing. Denver Water is investigating whether Denver’s future reservoirs will lie several hundred feet below the feet of its customers in aquifers called the Arapahoe and Laramie-Fox Hills.

Aquifer recharge has been used in many places as a way to store water. Arizona, for example, stores water for Las Vegas in an innovative partnership as well as water for its own use. In metropolitan Denver, the Centennial Water and Sanitation District, which serves Highlands Ranch, has also been pumping water into an aquifer, for withdrawal when needed. Others in the Denver area have also used it, with various degrees of success.

Denver has 17 reservoirs already able to store a combined maximum of 690,000 acre-feet. The adequacy of that storage is challenged by the uncertainties posed by the changing climate and continued population growth, said Bob Peters, a water resource engineer with Denver Water, speaking at a National Groundwater Association conference in Denver on April 25. Among the options now being studied is whether the aquifers underlying the city could also provide storage.

The city is bisected by the South Platte River. For most of the year, the river is over-appropriated, meaning there is no new water to be claimed. Furthermore, many of Denver’s existing rights from the South Platte are junior, meaning Denver might be left short in years of little snow or rain.

In a PowerPoint presentation, Peters also showed a variety of scenarios, all depicting gaps between needs and supplies. Denver is pursuing stepped-up conservation and greater reuse.

Denver also wants to divert more water from the Colorado River Basin through its Moffat Tunnel delivery system near Winter Park. That Moffat system expansion would include raising the height of Gross Dam, located southwest of Boulder, by 125 feet, nearly tripling the capacity of the reservoir. Denver has not received final authorization from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

injectionstoragemodesurpolusyearsdenveraquifer

Aquifer storage might also play a role in Denver’s future. Pumping water underground results in no evaporation, Peters said, requires fewer permits, and has less of an environmental footprint. Plus, it’s less costly than above-ground storage and can be done in small increments, unlike dams.

Challenges include figuring out where to put wells in urban areas, questions about the quality of water to be injected, and uncertainty about how much the water can later be recovered.

“We know it’s feasible. The question is whether it will work for Denver Water,” said Cortney Brand, of Leonard Rice Engineers, a consulting group.

recoverymodedenveraquiferdroughtyears

Brand outlined Denver’s aquifers. The Arapahoe Basin is 500 to 2,100 feet thick, but the water-bearing sands of that formation are only 150 to 250 feet thick and not necessarily in one seam. The water-bearing sands of the Fox Hills has average thickness of 382 feet. These are averages for wells logged within Denver, but the city is only 2.5 percent of the much broader Denver Basin.

But the understanding of what lies underneath is not as sharp as those figures might suggest. To get a clearly image of the ability of the aquifers in specific areas to store water, three or more wells are being drilled this year.

With those additional wells, he said, engineers expect that they can deliver designs and cost estimates of a pilot project for an aquifer storage and recovery project by the end of 2016.

How much storage might these wells provide? The study intends to answer that question, but Denver Water’s website suggests that nobody should expect a quick Dillion Reservoir. One recharge sit could store an estimated 20 to 150 acre-feet of water per year. That compares with the 7,863 acre-feet stored by Denver’s smallest surface reservoir, Strontia Springs.

For more information about Denver’s project, see the agency’s website explanation.

For more about the conference, see: https://ngwa.confex.com/ngwa/2016gws/webprogram/Paper10883.html

Denver Basin Aquifers confining unit sands and springs via the USGS. Page for report where graphic was taken: http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/1770/
Denver Basin Aquifers confining unit sands and springs via the USGS. Page for report where graphic was taken: http://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/1770/

Learn about Castle Rock’s rebate program and watering restrictions — the Castle Rock News-Press

castlerock

From the Town of Castle Rock via the Castle Rock News-Press:

Before the spring landscape season gets underway, Castle Rock officials are reminding resisdents to conserve water by using some of the town’s conservation programs.

Town Council approved earlier this month the 2016 Conservation Rebate Incentive Program, which offers rebates as part of an overall water-conservation plan.

The incentive program rewards residents transitioning from high-water-use landscaping and inefficient irrigation to other water-smart alternatives. It’s funded with money from water restriction violations and tier-four conservation surcharges. Funds are limited, and rebates are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

A household can qualify for each rebate only once.

The rebate program includes:

· Smart irrigation controllers — 50 percent of the controller cost up to $300

· Rotary nozzle retrofit — up to $5 per nozzle

· Rain sensors — 50 percent of the cost of the sensor up to $50

· SmartScape renovations — $1 per square foot up to $1,500 for high-water-use plant material, such as Kentucky bluegrass, removed and replaced with either Xeriscape or hardscape.

Applications are available at http://CRgov.com/rebates.

Water plan

The Town Council also approved the 2016 Water Use Management Plan. Castle Rock Water uses watering restrictions to help residents efficiently use water outdoors during warmer months.

By staggering water use on an every-third-day schedule, Castle Rock Water can maintain positive pressures throughout the water system, ensure appropriate fire flows and allocate time for water reservoir recovery.

Restrictions will be in place during June, July and August. Residents must follow a circle, diamond, square schedule that will be mailed to their homes around May 1 and is posted at CRgov.com/waterschedule.

Also, to promote efficient water use, outdoor irrigation will not be allowed between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. However, there are no time or day restrictions associated with hand watering.

These restrictions allow residents to water only during cooler, more humid times of day. This is when evapotranspiration — a measurement of how much water needs to be used to replace water lost through evaporation and transpiration — is at its lowest, and watering is most effective.

Both the rebate program and watering restrictions are outlined in Castle Rock Water’s Water Efficiency Master Plan. Since the plan was adopted in 2006, Castle Rock residents have exceeded and maintained the conservation goal of 18 percent or 165 to 135 gallons per person per day.

An updated plan was recently approved in 2016 and sets a goal for an additional 18 percent (122 to 100 gallons per person per day) of water savings by 2055.

Parker Water schedules 2016 election

Rhode Island Hotel 1908 Parker via Best of Parker
Rhode Island Hotel 1908 Parker via Best of Parker

From Parker Water via The Parker Chronicle:

The Parker Water & Sanitation District is putting out a call for candidates to fill three vacancies on its board of directors.

The May 3 mail-ballot election will enable district customers to vote on candidates to assume seats held by Kelly McCurry, Bill Wasserman and Dale Reiman, whose terms expire this year. Prospective candidates must file “affidavits of intent” to the Parker Water & Sanitation District by Feb. 29, according to a resolution passed by the current board on Jan. 14.

If there are “not more candidates than offices to be filled,” district manager Ron Redd, who is serving as the designated election official, will cancel the election and declare the candidates elected, the resolution said.

For more information, go to http://www.pwsd.org, email rredd@pwsd.org or call 303-841-4627.