Major #SouthPlatteRiver basin project would maximize #reuse of Western Slope water, report says — @AspenJournalism #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

The South Platte River runs by a utility plant near I-25 in Denver. The South Platte River runs by an electricity plant near I-25 in Denver. A project proposed by the South Platte Regional Opportunities Water Group would allow Front Range water managers to maximize the reuse of Colorado River water. Photo credit: Lindsay Fendt/Aspen Journalism

From Aspen Journalism (Lindsay Fendt):

A multibillion-dollar reservoir and pipeline project may one day pull more than 50,000 acre-feet of water per year from the South Platte River before it reaches Nebraska. That’s more than 16 billion gallons of water, enough to fill 25,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

The possible project is laid out in a new report from the South Platte Regional Opportunities Water Group, or SPROWG, a group of water managers from the Front Range. If built, the project would enable Front Range water managers to repeatedly reuse water diverted from the Colorado River, something Western Slope water managers have long encouraged and see as a welcome shift.

Colorado transmountain diversions via the State Engineer’s office

“There is a lot of fully reusable water that makes its way down the South Platte,” said Eric Kuhn, a retired manager of the Colorado River Water Conservation District who now writes about Colorado River issues. “This is something that people on the Western Slope have been trying to encourage for probably 70 years.”

The group used a $350,000 grant from the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the South Platte Basin and Metro Basin roundtables to complete the year-long study, which was released in March. The group members hope the project could help close a water-supply gap of as much as 540,000 acre-feet that the state is projecting for the South Platte River basin by 2050.

Since the 1930s, Front Range water planners have looked west to bolster their water supplies. An elaborate series of reservoirs, underground tunnels and pipelines now conveys about 400,000 acre-feet of water annually from the Colorado River headwaters to the South Platte basin.

Water is diverted from the Colorado, Fraser, Blue, Eagle, Fryingpan and Roaring Fork rivers in Grand, Summit, Eagle and Pitkin counties and sent under the Continental Divide to the South Platte basin.

Large projects on the South Platte were previously written off due to the high costs of water treatment, but as the cost and controversy surrounding transmountain diversions have grown, a project such as SPROWG — which would have seemed expensive decades ago — is now on par with most other supplies of water. Depending on which concept configuration is used and whether the water will need to be treated, building the project would cost between $1.2 billion and $3.4 billion to build.

The South Platte River runs near a farm in Henderson, Colorado, northeast of Denver. Henderson is the site of one of the possible reservoirs for the regional water project proposed by SPROWG. Photo credit: Lindsay Fendt/Aspen Journalism

Use to extinction

Each of SPROWG’s storage concepts would capture stormwater and native South Platte water during wet years. While the project would not be used to store water from existing or future transmountain diversions, it would capture water from the Colorado River that made its way back to the river as a return flow after being used elsewhere within the basin.

“SPROWG is not intended to store supplies from an existing or new transmountain diversion project (though it will provide a means to utilize unused reusable return flows from transmountain diversions),” the report said.

Once water is transferred over the mountains to the Front Range, it can legally be used to extinction, meaning that it can return to the river as runoff, be recaptured and be used again perpetually. By decree, certain volumes of Colorado River water can only be reused within a certain area, something the SPROWG project would need to ensure.

“If they are going to take the water in the first place, they should make sure they are reusing that water to the full extent possible,” said Andy Mueller, general manager of the Colorado River Water Conservation District, which was formed in 1937 to protect Western Slope water.

Although the SPROWG project does not require more water from the Western Slope, it is not considered a replacement supply for any of the existing water that the region takes from the Colorado River system. Despite the continued need of existing transmountain diversions, Mueller sees the project as an acknowledgement by at least some on the Front Range that the Colorado River is no longer a feasible option for future water supplies.

“I think there are a number of operators of Front Range systems that recognize that the Colorado River system has hit its limit,” he said.

While Western Slope water managers interviewed for this story were all generally supportive of the project, the Colorado Basin Roundtable, which represents different water districts and users within the basin, has not yet taken a formal opinion on it.

Conceptual projects outlined by SPROWG will allow water managers to reuse Colorado River water. Three of the four project alternatives include an approximately 80-mile pump-and-pipeline system that would move water from a reservoir in Balzac, northeast of Denver, uphill to the metro area. Graphic credit: SPROWG

Conceptual project

The concepts outlined in the report are still far from a fully formed project, as no steps have been taken toward permitting, acquiring land or even identifying a user for the water. But SPROWG members hope that the analysis could be the first step toward a basinwide water project, a cooperative effort not typical of other large water projects.

“It just seems like something that we need to do, organizing the basin and helping the basin function as efficiently as possible,” said Matt Lindburg, SPROWG’s senior engineering consultant. “It will definitely be a project and concept that folks want to pursue.”

The report analyzed four possible storage and pipeline configurations that would collect agricultural water returned to the lower South Platte as runoff from the region’s farms, and then pump it back to the Denver metro area.

Three of the four project alternatives include an approximately 80-mile pump-and-pipeline system that would move water from a reservoir in Balzac, northeast of Denver, uphill to the metro area. The pipeline would allow the metro area to reuse some water that it already returned to the river as runoff or through water-treatment plants. The conceptual reservoirs could store between 220,000 and 409,000 acre-feet of water.

The idea to design a basinwide water project came from conclusions in the South Platte Storage Study, a 2018 analysis of basin-water supplies that was funded by the Colorado legislature.

That study found that the state was sending an average of 293,000 acre-feet more water down the South Platte and into Nebraska than what is required by the South Platte River Compact, an agreement between the two states that governs how much water Colorado is able to take from the river.

The SPROWG project would be designed to capture some of this water while remaining within the confines of the compact. The report suggested that water could be reused rather than the basin continuing to rely on either Western Slope or agricultural water.

In recent decades, agriculture along the South Platte has been the other main source of water for growing municipalities. Municipal governments buy out farms with senior water rights and dry up the fields, sending the water to the cities.

“This is probably the only other option on the table,” said Joe Frank, general manager of the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District. “We want to do as much as we can to minimize the pressure on those other sources of water.”

The report also shows that the cost of the water from the projects would be consistent with other projects in the region — between $18,400 and $22,600 per acre-foot for untreated water and between $33,600 and $43,200 for treated water.

Whether cities will need additional South Platte water in the future, some of it is already spoken for. In March, 600,000 cranes — 80% of the world population — will visit an 80-mile stretch of the mainstem of the Platte River in Nebraska, where the birds fatten up on grain before a long migration north. Water flowing in the river makes this spectacle possible.

Even if the SPROWG concept were built, it would need to work within the confines of the Platte River Recovery Program, which was created to help protect these cranes and other endangered species on the river.

The recovery program, which secured additional water and land for habitat, has led to a dramatic increase in the population of endangered birds during migration season in Nebraska. SPROWG’s designers say they would work within the program, timing reservoir releases and saving water for specific ecological needs, but the report does not include a full environmental analysis.

Aspen Journalism is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization covering water and rivers in collaboration with The Aspen Times and Swift Communications newspapers. This story ran in the April 25 edition of The Aspen Times.

Six Feet in Solidarity – Week 4: Water Reuse — @WaterEdCO

From Water Education Colorado (Caitlin Coleman):

The Promise of Reuse

For decades, Colorado has been recycling water for landscaping purposes. More recent has been indirect potable reuse, where treated wastewater flows through an environmental buffer, such as a river, before being extracted for further treatment to make it suitable for drinking and other domestic uses.

Now, Colorado and several other water-stressed states are moving toward direct potable reuse. “Widespread development of potable reuse will be an important facet of closing the future water supply-demand gap,” said the Colorado Water Plan, published in 2015 in Chapter 6.3.2, the Water Supply Management-Reuse chapter, which includes information on reuse beginning on page 6-75.

Potable reuse most certainly won’t be a cure-all for Colorado’s water shortages. It’s just one potential tool in a kit, applicable for specialized settings. But wide adoption of direct potable reuse relies, at least in part, on adoption of state standards governing treatment processes and monitoring protocols. Read about it in “Purified” from our Fall 2018 issue of Headwaters magazine, which focused on water reuse.

Is Colorado working on state regulations to govern direct potable reuse?

Yes. A new report, crafted by a National Water Research Institute-organized panel of reuse experts, details potential Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regulations for direct potable reuse (DPR), which isn’t addressed in current regulations.

The report is part of WateReuse Colorado’s efforts to follow up on the water plan, which said Colorado needed a clear regulatory framework on reuse if reuse is to help address the future water supply-demand gap.

Getting this framework in place will give utilities the certainty they need to pursue DPR, which is critical for optimizing supplies they already have, says Laura Belanger from Western Resource Advocates.

Read what the report says and next steps in Colorado in the story “Getting Closer to Governing Direct Potable Reuse” from the new Spring 2020 issue of Headwaters magazine.

How does reuse optimize water supplies?

Check out the graphic below to conceptualize the multiplying effect of reuse:

Graphic credit: Water Education Colorado

Is water reuse on the rise?

In February, 2019, WEco offered a webinar exploring this question. Watch it to hear local experts discuss why more communities are turning toward water reuse and what regulations, policies, or other next steps need to fall into place for water recycling to grow. Watch it

How Colorado’s water conversation has shifted in the 21st century — The Mountain Town News

Xeriscape landscape

From The Mountain Town News (Allen Best):

Water providers have shifted their focus

The Colorado Water Conservation Board, the primary water-policy agency for the state, met last week in Westminster, and afterward I had dinner with a friend. The friend, who has long worked in the environmental advocacy space, spoke of some matter before the board, and added this: “Twenty years ago this conversation never would have happened.”

Water politics in Colorado have undergone a Big Pivot. As the century turned, environmental issues had made inroads into the conversation, but water development remained a dominant theme. Then came the drought of 2002, which more or less changed everything. So has the growing realization of how the changing climate will impact the already over-extended resources of the Colorado River.

Instead of a deep, deep bucket, to be returned to again and again, the Colorado River has become more or less an empty bucket.

Jeff Tejral. Photo via The Mountain Town News

Those realizations were evident in a panel discussion at the Colorado Water Congress about water conservation and efficiency. Jeff Tejral, representing Denver Water, spoke to the “changes over the last 20 years” that have caused Denver Water and other water utilities to embrace new water-saving technology and altered choices about outdoor water use.

Denver Water literally invented the word xeriscaping. That was before the big, big drought or the understandings of climate change as a big, big deal. Twenty years ago, the Colorado Water Congress would never have hosted panels on climate change. This year it had several.

Tejral pointed to the growth in Denver, the skyscrapers now omnipresent in yet another boom cycle, one that has lifted the city’s population over 700,000 and which will likely soon move the metropolitan area’s population above 3 million. That growth argues for continued attention to water efficiency and conservation, as Denver—a key provider for many of its suburbs—has limited opportunities for development of new supplies. “The other part of it is climate change,” he said. “That means water change.”

Denver Water has partnered with a company called Greyter Water Systems on a pilot project involving 40 homes at Stapleton likely to begin in June or July. It involves new plumbing but also water reuse, not for potable purposes but for non-potable purposes. John Bell, a co-founder of the company, who was also on the panel, explained that his company’s technology allows water to be treated within the house and put to appropriate uses there at minimal cost.

“It makes no sense to flush a toilet with perfectly good drinking water, and now with Greyter, you don’t have to,” he said.

For decades Denver has had a reuse program. Sewage water treated to high standards is applied to golf courses and other landscaping purposes. Because of the requirements for separate pipes—always purple, to indicate the water is not good for drinking—its use is somewhat limited.

A proposal has been moving though the Colorado Department of Public Health rule-making process for several years now that would expand use of greywater and set requirements for direct potable reuse. The pilot project at Stapleton would appear to be part of that slow-moving process.

Greyter Water Systems, meanwhile, has been forging partnerships with homebuilders, the U.S. Department of Defense, and others in several small projects.

“It seems like 40 homes in Colorado is a small step,” said Tejral, “but a lot of learning will come out of that, which will open the door for the next 400, and then the next 4,000.”

Colorado transmountain diversions via the State Engineer’s office

There are limits to this, however, as water cannot be recycled unless it’s imported into a basin. Water users downstream depend upon releases of water from upstream. Water in the South Platte River Basin is estimated to have 6 or 7 uses before it gets to Nebraska.

In the Eagle River Valley, the streams gush with runoff from the Gore and Sawatch ranges, but there can be pinches during years of drought. That area, said Linn Brooks, who directs the Eagle River Water and Sanitation Districts, has a population of between 35,000 and 60,000 between Vail and Wolcott, “depending where we are during our tourist year.”

Water efficiency programs can make a big difference in what flows in the local creeks and rivers. Brooks pointed to 2018, a year of exceptionally low snowfall. New technologies and policies that put tools into the hands of customers reduced water use 30% during a one-month pinch, resulting in 8 cubic feet per second more water flowing in local creeks and rivers. During that time, Gore Creek was running 16 cfs through Vail. It flows into the Eagle River, which was running 25 cfs. “So saving 8 cfs was really significant,” she said.

Many of Eagle Valley’s efficiency programs focus on outdoor water use. That is because the water delivery for summer outdoor use drives the most capacity investment and delivery expenses. “Really, that is the most expensive water that we provide,” Brooks said.

Tap fees and monthly billings have been adjusted to reflect those costs. One concept embraced by Eagle River Water and Sanitation is called water budgeting. “Our hope is that water budgeting will continue to increase the downward trend of water use per customer that we’ve had for the last 20 years for at least another 10 years,” she said.

Linn Brooks. Photo via The Mountain Town News

Eagle River also has tried to incentivize good design. The district negotiates with real estate developers based on the water treatment capacity their projects will require. “That is a way to get them to build more water-efficient projects, especially on the outdoors side,” explained Brooks. “When we execute these agreements, we put water limits on them. If they go over that, we charge them more for their tap fee. That can be a pretty big cost. We don’t like to do that, but we have found that in those few cases where new developments go over their water limits, we have gone back to them and said, we might have to reassess the water tap fees, but what we really want you to do is stay within your water budget.” That tactic, she added, has usually worked.

In this concept of water budgeting, she said, “I don’t think we have even begun to scrape the surface of the potential.”

Outdoor water use has also been a focal point of efforts by Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, the agency created to deliver water to customers from the trans-mountain diversion at Grand Lake. Municipalities from Broomfield and Boulder north to Fort Collins and Greeley, even Fort Morgan, get water from the diversion.

Frank Kinder was recently hired away from Colorado Springs Utilities to become the full-time water efficiency point person for Northern. Part of the agency’s effort is to introduce the idea that wall to wall turf need not be installed for a pleasing landscape. Instead, Northern pushes the idea of hybrid landscapes and also introduces alternatives for tricky areas that are hard to irrigate. The ultimate goal falls under the heading of “smiles per gallon.” Some of the district’s thinking can be seen in the xeriscaping displays at Northern’s office complex in Berthoud.

Kevin Reidy, who directs water conservation efforts for the Colorado Water Conservation Board, said the Colorado Water Plan posited a goal of reducing water use by 400,000 acre-feet. Don’t get caught up in that precise number, he advised. “It’s really about trying to figure out a more stable water future for our cities,” he said.

Readers might well be confused by an agency named “water conservation” having an employee with the title of “water conservation specialist.” The story here seems to be that the word conservation has changed over time. In 1937, when the agency was created, water conservation to most people meant creating dams and other infrastructure to prevent the water from flowing downhill. Now, conservation means doing as much or more with less.

On why Eagle River Water takes aim at outdoor use

The amount of water used outdoors is generally twice that used for indoor purposes, and only about 15% to 40% of water used outdoors makes its way back to local waterways.

None of this water is returned to local streams through a wastewater plant. Most of the water is consumed by plant needs or evaporation; what is leftover percolates through the ground and may eventually make its way to a local stream.

— From the Eagle River Water website

This was originally published in the Feb. 18, 2020, issue of Big Pivots.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority is looking at investing in a S. #CA #reuse project in exchange for #ColoradoRiver water #COriver #aridification #ActOnClimate

Some Colorado River water users in 2020 will begin taking voluntary reductions to protect the water elevation level at Lake Mead. (Source: Bureau of Reclamation)

From The Nevada Independent (Daniel Rothberg):

The Southern Nevada Water Authority has expressed interest in helping finance a wastewater reuse project being pursued by Southern California’s municipal wholesale water provider.

The goal: To free up Colorado River water.

The concept looks something like this. If the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) could recycle a portion of its water, it could reduce its overall consumption of Colorado River water stored at Lake Mead. In turn, the water authority would help fund the project in exchange for additional water that MWD would be able to leave in the reservoir because of it.

Such a project is in the early stages, and it could take at least a decade to build out. Still, the water authority and MWD are actively discussing a potential partnership. John Entsminger, the water authority’s general manager, said he hoped there would be a preliminary deal next spring…

If the project moves forward, it would cost about $3.4 billion, recycling water for about $1,800 per acre-foot, Hasencamp said. It has not yet been determined what Nevada’s financial contribution would be. The project would still need to be approved by both the water district’s full board the MWD board.

The project is similar to other water-swapping proposals. Minute 323, a binational agreement between the United States and Mexico, tasked a working group with studying desalination plants. New supplies would allow Colorado River users to more easily exchange water at Lake Mead.

Direct potable water reuse in five arid inland communities: an analysis of factors influencing public acceptance

Indirect potable reuse, or IPR: releasing highly treated reclaimed water into an environmental buffer such as a surface water reservoir or an aquifer—that is later withdrawn and treated for potable use. This also arguably includes de facto IPR, where source waters are impacted by upstream wastewater discharges from other utilities. Since many cities are downstream of other cities along rivers, de facto IPR is very common.
Direct potable reuse, or DPR: drawing highly treated effluent from a water reclamation facility and sending it directly to a drinking water plant for treatment. This differs from IPR by not having the environmental buffer, like an aquifer or reservoir, between the wastewater discharge and the drinking water intake.

Click here to read the paper (Caroline E. Scruggs, Claudia B. Pratesi & John R. Fleck). Here’s the abstract:

Direct potable reuse (DPR) can improve reliability of water supplies by generating drinking water from wastewater, but communities have consistently opposed DPR more than other forms of reuse. Using interview data regarding DPR projects in five inland communities, this study fills gaps in the literature with an analysis of factors influencing acceptance of DPR. While scholars have recommended public processes used to implement non-potable and indirect potable reuse projects, there is little-to-no documentation about whether and how they have been used to implement DPR projects. Further, previous research has focused on large coastal cities. Counter to previous recommendations, we found minimal public deliberation of reuse options and public education/outreach occurring post-project conception. Findings suggest that direct experience with water scarcity, community smallness, and governance strongly influence DPR acceptance. With few DPR facilities worldwide, this new knowledge is useful to water planners who are interested in the feasibility of DPR in inland areas.

Water treatment hub to bridge research, commercialization — @coschoolofmines

From the Colorado School of Mines:

Colorado School of Mines celebrated today the grand opening of a new 10,000-square-foot research facility in Denver that will pave the way for greater collaboration with industry, government and academia to tackle one of the biggest challenges facing society today – access to clean water.

The WE2ST (Water-Energy Education, Science and Technology) Water Technology Hub will accommodate large-scale research focused on developing innovative treatment technologies for produced water from oil, gas and mineral production, groundwater contaminated with emerging contaminants (including toxic poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances), saline and hypersaline streams, municipal water, wastewater and more — leading to sustainable water reuse.

“Colorado School of Mines was founded almost 150 years ago to help industry grow and thrive and since those early years, solving water and wastewater treatment challenges have been a key part of its research mission,” said Stefanie Tompkins, vice president of research and technology transfer. “As we approach our next 150 years, we want to continue to be a go-to place for the use-inspired research and innovation needed for society’s big challenges. This new facility is an important step in that direction, allowing our amazing researchers – in partnership with other research institutions, industry and government – to bridge the gap between lab-scale and commercial-scale water treatment technologies.”

Located off Interstate 70 and Quebec Street in Denver, the WE2ST Hub includes full analytical and wet labs for water analysis, a fabrication facility and a flexible research bay, with capacity for 30,000 gallons of water and rail line access for bringing in those water samples from anywhere in the U.S.

The industrial facility was previously operated by NGL Energy Partners, a midstream oil and gas company, which donated the entirety of the facility’s equipment to Mines, a gift valued at approximately $800,000.

“For over a decade, NGL Energy Partners has been treating oilfield waste water, creating clean water for use in irrigation, municipal and industrial applications, and, in addition, returning substantial amounts of clean water to the surface for beneficial use,” CEO H. Michael Krimbill said. “We are proud to be a part of this project and look forward to an ongoing collaboration with Colorado School of Mines through serving as a partner to assist in efforts to pilot and commercialize innovations that flow from the WE2ST Water Technology Hub.”

A gift of $1.5 million from the Colorado-based ZOMA Foundation will seed the facility’s operations and support several undergraduate and graduate research fellowships.

“ZOMA is excited to support the WE2ST Water Technology Hub and hopes the facility can help accelerate innovations that improve access to clean water and further sustainable water reuse,” said Luis Duarte, chief philanthropic officer of ZOMALAB.

The hub’s inaugural projects include a U.S. Department of Energy-funded collaboration with UCLA on solar desalination and a smaller project in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on hydrokinetic – or ocean wave – energy desalination. The hub is also one of the core research facilities of NAWI, the National Alliance for Water Innovation. Dr. James Rosenblum, a former postdoctoral fellow at CU Boulder and staff scientist at Jacobs Engineering, will oversee daily operations of the facility.

“We want to thank NGL Energy Partners and the ZOMA Foundation for their help in making possible a facility of this size dedicated to developing innovative technologies for the treatment and reuse of municipal and industrial wastewater,” said Tzahi Cath, director of the WE2ST Water Technology Hub and professor of civil and environmental engineering at Mines.

“To better partner with industry and municipalities and help them solve the real-world water treatment challenges they face, we needed more space than is typically available on a college campus,” Rosenblum said. “We’re excited to get to work at a much larger scale than ever before.”

2019 #COleg: Governor Polis signs HB19-1200 (Reclaimed Domestic Wastewater Point Of Compliance)

Graywater system schematic.

Click here to go to the Colorado Legislature website to read the bill:

Concerning the point of compliance related to the treatment process involved in treating reclaimed domestic wastewater for indoor nonpotable uses within a building where the general public can access plumbing fixtures that are used to deliver the reclaimed domestic wastewater.

SESSION: 2019 Regular Session
SUBJECTS: Natural Resources & Environment Water

BILL SUMMARY
In 2018, the general assembly authorized the use of reclaimed domestic wastewater for irrigation of food crops and industrial hemp and for toilet flushing if, at the point of compliance in the water treatment process, the reclaimed domestic wastewater met certain water quality standards.

The bill authorizes the water quality control commission (commission) to adopt rules requiring a point of compliance for disinfection residual related to the treatment process for reclaimed domestic wastewater used for toilet flushing within a building where the general public can access the plumbing fixtures used to deliver the reclaimed domestic wastewater. If the commission adopts the rules, the rules must establish a point of compliance for disinfection residual at a single location between where reclaimed domestic wastewater is delivered to the occupied premises and before the water is distributed for use in the occupied premises.

[Graywater] Water-saving rule, passed with high hopes, goes nowhere — @WaterEdCO

Graywater system schematic.

From Water Education Colorado (Jerd Smith):

More than three years after state health officials okayed the use of so-called graywater in homes and businesses [HB13-1044 (Authorize Graywater Use)], the public has shown no interest in using it, a fact that has baffled water conservation advocates and government officials.

“Unfortunately it’s had very little impact,” said Jon Novick, an environmental public health administrator for the City of Denver.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment approved Regulation 86, as it is known, in May of 2015. It requires that counties opt into the program, creating their own standards and enforcement mechanisms. But Denver, which adopted the rule in 2016, and Pitkin, which adopted it nearly a year ago, are the only two of Colorado’s 64 counties that have chosen to do this. And despite the two counties’ enthusiasm for water conservation, neither the homeowners nor the businesses they serve have sought permits seeking to capture graywater for a second-time use.

Graywater flows out of bathroom sinks, tubs, showers and clothes washers. Nearly half of water used in homes on average goes to these purposes. Reusing it would generate significant water savings, something health officials and water conservation advocates say is critical as Colorado faces escalating water demands—and potential shortfalls— due to population growth, drought and climate change.

Under Regulation 86, homeowners and businesses can capture graywater and then use it to flush toilets and urinals and to water lawns if those lawns have subsurface irrigation systems. Graywater cannot be used in above-ground sprinkler systems.

Graywater is different than recycled water because it requires little treatment. Recycled water, on the other hand, is heavily treated before it is reused because it contains waste water from toilets and other sources.

Brandie Honeycutt is an environmental protection specialist with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. She said it’s important that the regulation be widely adopted. To that end the state is planning a series of meetings in the first quarter of this year to examine how the program might be changed to broaden its appeal.

Colorado is among 20 states nationwide that allow use of graywater, according to Berkeley, Calif.-based GrayWater Action.

But Colorado’s Reg. 86 has numerous requirements, in some cases making it more burdensome than it is in other states. To use graywater indoors, for example, a home or office needs a dual plumbing system, with one set of pipes carrying treated drinking water, and the other set carrying graywater. Even new developments in Colorado don’t typically incorporate these dual-pipe systems, because they are expensive.

And retrofitting older homes and buildings is costly as well, Honeycutt said.

“You’re never going to see this in old construction because you would have to do a whole lot of rework,” Honeycutt said.

In addition, under the regulation, graywater has to be disinfected and cannot be stored for more than 24 hours.

Douglas County is among the dozens of counties statewide who have opted not to adopt the new rule. Officials there declined to comment on that decision, however a statement on the county’s website cited high costs, possible exposure to pathogens, as well as difficulty enforcing the rules as reasons for their decision not to allow the program in the county.

But those concerns did not prevent Pitkin County from moving forward with the new rule.

“We recognize that a number of other counties haven’t adopted [Reg. 86],” said Kurt Dahl, Pitkin County’s environmental health manager. “Being a leader [in water conservation] we thought it was important to go ahead and adopt them. But since we don’t have any takers, we’re going to have to regroup and see how to move this forward.”

Denver’s Novick and Dahl have several ideas they believe will help the graywater program catch on.

Among them is a tweak that would allow an innovative toilet system — one that doesn’t require dual-piping — to be used. Often seen in other states, the new toilets have a direct connection to a sink, so that once someone finishes washing his or her hands, for instance, the water flows into the toilet tank so that it can be reused for flushing.

This new-age loo eliminates the need for a separate tank to store graywater for toilet flushing, something now required under Reg. 86.

Another idea is to create a grant program that would provide low-interest loans or rebates to encourage homeowners and businesses to install these new toilets and sub-surface irrigation systems.

Similar programs exist to encourage installation of solar energy systems and other green technologies.

“We really need folks to install graywater systems so we can start to prove that they are not going to be a risk to public health,” Novick said. “This will increase the state’s comfort level and then we can come up with other technologies to use. We really want to see this program work.”

Jerd Smith is editor of Fresh Water News. She can be reached at 720-398-6474, via email at jerd@wateredco.org or @jerd_smith.

Webinar: Is water reuse on the rise? — @WaterEdCO

Click here for all the inside skinny. Register here.

An Ambitious Reuse Plan for the South Platte Basin — Headwaters Magazine @WaterEdCO

A group called the South Platte Regional Opportunities Working Group, or SPROWG, is proposing to store 175,000 acre-feet of water in a series of reservoirs on the South Platte River, from north of Denver to the Morgan County line. The project also includes a long pipeline to pump water from the river back to the metro area to be cleaned and re-used. Graphic credit: CWCB via Aspen Journalism

From Headwaters Magazine (Nelson Harvey):

Conceptual project would capture and store flows before they cross into Nebraska.

Colorado is expected to add 3 million new residents by 2050, and many of them will likely settle along the northern Front Range. That growth will spur a massive mismatch between water supply and demand—a gap of roughly 500,000 acre-feet per year by midcentury, according to Colorado’s Water Plan. Since 2015, a group of Front Range water providers called the South Platte Regional Opportunity Working Group (SPROWG) has been looking for ways to bridge that future gap through collaborative multi-purpose water projects, without diverting more water from Colorado’s Western Slope or drying up eastern Colorado farmland in the process.

“[This is] about making our water systems as efficient as we possibly can, and then seeing how large the remaining supply gap is and what the next steps will be,” says Lisa Darling, executive director of the South Metro Water Supply Authority, a member of SPROWG, and president of Water Education Colorado’s board.

Along with South Metro, SPROWG includes representatives from Denver Water, Aurora Water, the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, the St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District, the North Sterling Irrigation District and the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District. The group is seeking to capitalize on a surplus of untapped reusable water in the lower South Platte River near the Nebraska border, which accumulates there through return flows from the Denver Metro area and farms upstream. According to the South Platte Storage Study, an effort funded by the Colorado legislature and completed in early 2018, Colorado sent an annual median volume of 293,000 acre-feet more water to Nebraska than the South Platte River Compact requires between 1996 and 2015. SPROWG aims to enable the reuse and exchange of more of that water before it leaves the state.

“The central problem is that [future] demand will largely materialize in growing communities located roughly along the north-south axis of Interstate 25, while data and modeling tell us that available water supplies in the basin generally occur much further downstream where the river traverses the plains,” says Doug Robotham, a consultant who helped initiate SPROWG and facilitates the group’s discussions.

The conceptual project that SPROWG is now pursuing would remedy that mismatch through the creation of about 175,000 acre-feet of new water storage in three locations: 50,000 acre-feet near Henderson, 100,000 acre-feet downstream near Kersey, and 25,000 acre-feet further east near Snyder. The concept could also involve the construction of a pipeline from the Snyder-area reservoir back to the South Platte River north of Denver. This would enable the storage, reuse and exchange of several types of water, including native South Platte River flows in wet years, and legally reusable water supplies. Reusable supplies include transbasin diversion water, unconnected well water, and other sources imported into the South Platte system.

SPROWG’s analysis suggests the concept would generate 54,600 acre-feet of dependable “firm yield” every year. That’s only about one-tenth of the South Platte Basin’s looming water supply gap, but Joe Frank of the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District says the concept would have added benefits for farmers and ranchers in eastern Colorado.

“It provides a viable alternative to buy and dry that has and continues to threaten lands within our boundaries,” says Frank. The economies of many eastern Colorado towns are dependent on irrigated agriculture and will suffer if acres are removed from production by cities acquiring agricultural water to support growth, Frank says.

Much research remains before SPROWG’s concept solidifies into an actual water project. SPROWG partners recently received $155,000 in funding from the Metro and South Platte Basin roundtables, and at press time they were waiting on approval for an additional $195,000 from the Colorado Water Conservation Board’s Water Supply Reserve Account. Over the next year, they’ll use those funds, together with $120,000 of their own money, to hone in on which municipal, agricultural and recreational water users could benefit from the SPROWG concept. They’ll also study how the concept would be funded and governed, and the exact size and location of the proposed storage facilities and water reuse pipeline.

Click here to read the whole issue of Headwaters and while you are there become a member and support water education in Colorado.

@CSUtilities extends CEO contract offer to Aram Benyamin

Here’s the release from Colorado Springs Utilities:

Board extends offer for CEO

In an open session on Sept. 17, the Utilities Board unanimously voted to extend an offer to Aram Benyamin to be the next Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Colorado Springs Utilities.

Nearly 130 candidates from across the United States submitted their resumes for consideration. In June, the Utilities Board reviewed the top candidates and determined which candidates should complete advanced screening. In July, the Board reviewed the information and selected seven candidates to proceed as semifinalists.

Over the last few weeks, the full Utilities Board conducted seven semi-finalist interviews with internal and external candidates. Deliberations on who would be moving on as finalists were concluded prior to the Aug. 22 Board meeting.

As part of the process, there were opportunities for employees and the public to meet the CEO finalists and provide feedback to the Board. The Utilities Board incorporated the feedback they received from employees and the public and considered the information as they interviewed the candidates.

Aram Benyamin, P.E.
General Manager of Energy Supply
Colorado Springs Utilities

Aram Benyamin currently serves as the General Manager of the Energy Supply Department at Colorado Springs Utilities.

Prior to Colorado Springs Utilities, Mr. Benyamin was the Senior Assistant General Manager, head of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) power system, the nation’s largest municipal utility.

At LADWP, Mr. Benyamin was responsible for 4,000 employees with an annual budget of $3.9 billion, serving more than four million residents of Los Angeles.

LADWP’s power system spans over four states. It includes 7,327 megawatts of generation capacity, 3,507 miles of high-voltage 500, 230 and 138 kV AC transmission lines, two 900 miles of 500 kV DC lines and a 465 square mile area of overhead and underground power distribution network.

Mr. Benyamin is a Professional Engineer and has a bachelor’s of science degree in engineering from California State University, Los Angeles. He also has a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from University of La Verne and a master’s degree in public of administration (MPA) from California State University, Northridge.

He has also earned a Certificate, Senior Executives in State and Local Government, Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government; Certificate, Executive Business Management Program, University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Anderson School of Management; Certificate, Engineering and Technical Management, UCLA; Certificate, Business Management Program, UCLA; Certificate, Leadership for the 21st Century, UCLA; Certificate, Total Quality Management, UCLA; Certificate, Construction Management, UCLA.

Mr. Benyamin’s current and past board member and trustee affiliations include YMCA Downtown Colorado Springs Board Member, Armenian General Benevolent Union, Worldwide District Committee Board Member, Boys and Girls Scouts commissioner, troop committee member and volunteer, Trustee of Joint Safety and Training Institutes, Southern California Public Power Association board member, Large Public Power Council board member and California Municipal Utilities Association board member.

  • View Mr. Benyamin’s resume.
  • See Mr. Benyamin written responses to interview questions.
  • Read Mr. Benyamin’s video interview transcript.
  • From The Colorado Springs Independent (Pam Zubeck):

    Monday, Sept. 17, the Colorado Springs Utilities Board voted to offer the energy supply general manager, Aram Benyamin, a contract as the new CEO of the $2 billion enterprise.

    Benyamin would replace Jerry Forte, who retired in May after more than 12 years as CEO.

    He came to Utilities in 2015 from Los Angeles Department of Water and Power after he was ousted the previous year due to his close association with the electrical workers union, according to media reports. He also had supported the challenger of Eric Garcetti, who was elected as mayor.

    Benyamin tells the Independent that he will accept the offer, although details are being worked out, including the salary. Forte was paid $447,175 a year.

    Benyamin will take his cues on major policy issues from the Utilities Board but does have thoughts on power supply, water rights and other issues involving the four services offered by Utilities: water, wastewater, electricity and gas.

    He says he hopes to see more options emerge for Drake Power Plant, a downtown coal-fired plant that’s been targeted for retirement in 2035. That’s way too late, according to some residents who have pushed for an earlier decommissioning date…

    Utilities has been slower than some to embrace solar and wind, because of the price point, but Benyamin says prices are going down. “Every time we put out an RFP [request for proposals] the prices are less,” he says, adding that renewables will play a key role in replacing Drake’s generation capacity, which at present provides a quarter to a third of the city’s power.

    While sources are studied, he says the city is moving ahead with “rewiring the system” to prepare for shutting down the plant. But he predicted a new source of generation will be necessary.

    Though he acknowledged he’s not fully versed in Utilities’ water issues, he says it’s his goal to “serve the city first.”

    “Any resources we have we need to prioritize them to the need of the city today and the future growth and then decide what level of support we can give to anybody else,” he says.

    The Utilities Policy Advisory Committee earlier this year called for lowering the cost of water and wastewater service for outsiders — notably bedroom communities outside the city limits which are running lower on water or face water contamination issues.

    Benyamin also says he’s open to further studying reuse of water. “Any chance we have to recycle water or use gray water for irrigation or any other use that would take pressure off our supplies, that’s always a great idea to look into,” he says.

    From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Conrad Swanson):

    “My short-term vision is to take a look at the organization and kind of recalibrate the vision of what a public utility should be and how a public utility should fit into the vision of the city itself,” Benyamin said.

    Long-term goals include identifying what fuel changes Utilities will face and examining the water supply and transmission, he said.

    Benyamin said he wants to insert leadership that will boost revenues while maintaining competitive rates. He also foresees increasing renewable energy production and energy storage.

    “Renewables and storage are the trend of the future,” he said. “That’s where we’re going.”

    Technology for storage and renewable energy, such as wind and solar, are becoming more efficient and affordable, Benyamin said. Combining those two factors with improved distribution of electricity will enable Utilities to be more versatile, he said.

    The coal-fired Martin Drake Power Plant downtown is to be closed no later than 2035, but Benyamin said that date could be moved up significantly with more technology, storage and transmission options.

    Colorado Springs with the Front Range in background. Photo credit Wikipedia.

    @WaterEdCO “Fresh Water News’: Aurora’s recycled water plant running at full-tilt

    From Water Education Colorado (Jerd Smith):

    Aurora’s futuristic recycled water project — Prairie Waters— is running at full-tilt for the first time in its eight-year history, a move designed to make the city’s water supplies last longer in the face of severe drought conditions.

    “We’re pushing it as hard as we can,” said Greg Baker, a spokesman for Aurora Water.

    In February, as mountain snows failed to accumulate, Baker said the city began mobilizing to ramp up plant operations, knowing its reservoirs would likely not fill this summer. “We were very worried.”

    By April, Prairie Waters was running at full speed, generating 9.7 million gallons a day (MGD), up from 5.1 MGD last summer, a 90 percent increase in production.

    “We could possibly push it to 10 MGD,” said Ann Malinaro, a chemist and treatment specialist with Prairie Waters, “but we consider 9.7 MGD full capacity.”

    […]

    “Prairie Waters was huge, not just in terms of volume, but also because it’s really helped us advance as a state in accepting potable [drinkable] reused water,” Belanger said. “Historically, there has been a yuck factor. But Prairie Waters has helped folks understand how systems can be designed so they are safe and effective.” [Laura Belanger]

    Twenty-five Colorado cities, including Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Louisville, operate recycled water facilities, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, but that water is used primarily to water parks, golf courses and to help cool power plants, among other nonpotable, or non-drinkable, uses.

    But Aurora, faced with fast-growth and a shortage of water, realized more than a decade ago that reusing its existing supplies and treating them to drinking water standards was the only way to ensure it could provide enough water for its citizens.

    Completed in 2010, the Prairie Waters Project recaptures treated wastewater from the South Platte River and transports it back to Aurora through a series of underground wells and pipelines. As the water makes its 34-mile journey from a point near Brighton back to the metro area through subsurface sand and gravel formations, it undergoes several rounds of natural cleansing.

    Once it reaches the Prairie Waters treatment facility near Aurora Reservoir, it runs through a series of high-tech purification processes using carbon filters, UV light and chlorine, among other chemicals. Then, before it is delivered to homes, the reused water is mixed with the city’s other supplies, which derive from relatively clean mountain snowmelt that is carried down from the mountains.

    2018 #COleg recap

    From The Sterling Journal-Advocate (Marianne Goodland):

    The Mussel-free Colorado Act came from the interim water resources review committee and was signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper on April 23.

    Since they were first found in a lake outside of Detroit in 1988, zebra and quagga mussels have become a huge problem for waterways in the eastern half of the United States, particularly the Great Lakes.

    Sightings have been rare in Colorado but they have happened: at Lake Pueblo in 2008, at Green Mountain Reservoir in 2016 and in March outside of Grand Junction. In 2017, according to the state Division of Parks and Wildlife, 25 boats were found contaminated with mussels, up from 22 boats in 2016. Those boats had all come from other states, with Lake Powell in Arizona and Lake Havasu in California as the places where the mussels most likely came from…

    Fears that the nuisance could to do to Colorado’s water system what it’s done to systems back east prompted lawmakers to ramp up the state’s aquatic nuisance detection program, which has been underfunded for years.

    Under House Bill 1008 — the mussel-free law — beginning January 1, Colorado residents will pay $25 for an aquatic nuisance stamp for their boats in addition to the boat registration free. Non-residents will pay $50 to use their motorboats or sailboats in state waterways.

    The fee is expected to raise $2.2 million that will help Colorado Parks and Wildlife keep boat inspection sites open for longer hours and for a longer season. Doug Kreiger of CPW told the interim water committee last year that budget cutbacks have meant boaters could avoid inspections, such as putting their boats in reservoirs on private land or at the public ramps when inspectors aren’t available.

    The law also will allow the division to recoup the cost of decontaminating boats that show up with mussels attached to boat or boat motors, anchors, anchor ropes, fishing gear, and boat trailers.

    The water committee also carried two of the recycled water bills: to allow recycled water to be used for industrial hemp and for irrigating marijuana crops.

    Recycling water — the process for treating water and then reusing it — isn’t new in Colorado; it’s been a part of irrigation for agriculture for years. But it’s gaining new attention, thanks in part to the state water plan. It noted that 25 utilities, mostly on the Eastern Slope, are already treating and recycling non-potable water and would look for additional ways for using recycled water as a way of addressing Colorado’s looming water shortage, with a goal of finding 170,000 acre-feet through recycling.

    The water plan cites as an example the Colorado Springs utility, which uses recycled water for irrigation at golf courses, parks and other properties, as well as for cooling towers at local power plants. The utility reported in 2016 that reuse saves one billion gallons of drinking water every year.

    Senate Bill 38, signed into law on April 28, would add industrial hemp on the list of approved crops irrigated with recycled domestic wastewater and in accordance with existing water rights. Industrial hemp is a crop that under the bill could not be used for food production.

    Sen. Don Coram of Montrose, the bill sponsor, explained that hemp is a high-protein crop, higher than alfalfa, and that it poses no risk to cattle, for example. The bill was supported by the Colorado Water Rights Association, the Colorado Water Congress and the hemp industry.

    The bill was amended to address concerns about water quality.

    The bill allowing recycled water for irrigation of marijuana — House Bill 1053 — wasn’t as lucky and died in the Senate Finance Committee, at the request of its sponsor. The marijuana industry opposed the bill, based on concerns that the law would require cultivators to use recycled water that could contain pesticides that cannot by law used on cannabis plants.

    Would you use recycled water to flush toilets? Colorado law changed a couple of years ago to allow developers to build greywater systems in new homes, but left out existing homes and businesses.

    House Bill 1069, signed on April 30, would let businesses and multifamily residences, such as apartments, condos and townhomes, to flush toilets with recycled domestic wastewater. The state’s plumbing code is changed under the law, and toilet plumbing would have to be retrofitted to accommodate the rerouting of recycled water.

    The General Assembly also changed state law on water quality to allow recycled water to be used to irrigate food crops, but only if that water meets the water quality standards for commercial crops under the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act. That bill was signed into law on April 28.

    The law does not apply to big agriculture, according to the sponsor, Democratic Rep. Jeni Arndt of Fort Collins. She said the intention is to use recycled water to replace drinking water that is used to irrigate indoor grows;l community gardens; community-supported agriculture, usually farms of one acre or less; and other forms of urban agriculture.

    Finally, the General Assembly put another $7 million toward implementing the state water plan. Under Senate Bill 218, $3 million would go toward developing additional storage, recharging aquifers and dredging existing reservoirs to add capacity; $1 million for agricultural projects; $1 million for grants that would implement long-term strategies for conservation, land use and drought planning; $500,000 for grants on water education and $1.5 million for environmental and recreation projects. That bill was signed into law on May 30.

    On June 19, the interim water resources review committee is scheduled to meet in Denver to review a study commissioned in 2016 to look for new or enhanced water storage opportunities along the South Platte River, primarily in northeastern Colorado.

    How Water #Reuse Can Help Meet the West’s Water Needs — Water for #Colorado

    Water reuse via GlobalWarming.com.

    From Water for Colorado (Laura Belanger):

    The West faces a water supply gap, and the reasons are simple. Our quickly growing cities and towns are adding demands on our already stretched water supplies. Water reuse can help us fill the gap.

    So what is water reuse and why is it important? First, it’s important to understand the difference between the two primary types of reuse: potable and non-potable reuse. Many states in the West currently allow for non-potable – or purple pipe – reuse for things like landscape irrigation, industrial purposes, commercial laundries, and fire protection, among other things. But a majority of purple pipe reuse is for outdoor landscape irrigation which really only benefits us during irrigation months (less than half of the year). But with potable reuse – where water is treated to very high quality standards to ensure it’s safe and often blended with other supplies – that water can be used anytime, anywhere and for anything. Potable reuse helps stretch supplies and meet more demand with the same volume of water. And it doesn’t require an entirely separate set of pipes (purple) to deliver it.

    Western Resource Advocates is working with water utilities, local and state agencies, and other organizations to help increase water reuse around the West to address this growing problem. In Colorado specifically, WRA is working with a diverse group of stakeholders to help develop regulations for direct potable reuse and advance legislation to increase reuse to help the state’s water supplies. Recycled water has been used for decades in Colorado and states across the nation and has long been proven to be a safe, cost-effective tool for additional water supply. In fact, the State of the Rockies Poll found that 78% of westerners “support using our current water supply more wisely by encouraging more conservation and increasing water recycling.“

    Currently, WRA and our partners are working to advance four bills in the Colorado legislature that would allow recycled water to be used for:

  • toilet flushing
  • marijuana cultivation
  • edible crop and community garden irrigation
  • growth of industrial hemp
  • Other states, like Florida, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, currently allow for recycled water to be used for toilet flushing and edible crop irrigation, and have successfully supplemented their water supplies this way. Colorado’s Water Plan also specifically calls for state agencies to identify how the state can foster increased reuse to help address growing demands, and these initiatives are a great step in that direction. By embracing water reuse for these applications and others we can help bolster our stretched water supplies, and work to help, shrink the gap between those supplies and the demands of our growing cities and towns. Water reuse, in concert with other water-smart tools and strategies, can help us provide for our communities while also protecting our beloved rivers and lakes, keeping them healthy and preserving the quality of life that they afford for all of us.

    How Water Reuse Can Help Meet the West’s Water Needs — @wradv

    Water reuse via GlobalWarming.com.

    From Western Resource Advocates (Laura Belanger):

    The West faces a water supply gap, and the reasons are simple. Our quickly growing cities and towns are adding demands on our already stretched water supplies. Water reuse can help us fill the gap.

    So what is water reuse and why is it important? First, it’s important to understand the difference between the two primary types of reuse: potable and non-potable reuse. Many states in the West currently allow for non-potable – or purple pipe – reuse for things like landscape irrigation, industrial purposes, commercial laundries, and fire protection, among other things. But a majority of purple pipe reuse is for outdoor landscape irrigation which really only benefits us during irrigation months (less than half of the year). But with potable reuse – where water is treated to very high quality standards to ensure it’s safe and often blended with other supplies – that water can be used anytime, anywhere and for anything. Potable reuse helps stretch supplies and meet more demand with the same volume of water. And it doesn’t require an entirely separate set of pipes (purple) to deliver it.

    Western Resource Advocates is working with water utilities, local and state agencies, and other organizations to help increase water reuse around the West to address this growing problem. In Colorado specifically, WRA is working with a diverse group of stakeholders to help develop regulations for direct potable reuse and advance legislation to increase reuse to help the state’s water supplies. Recycled water has been used for decades in Colorado and states across the nation and has long been proven to be a safe, cost-effective tool for additional water supply. In fact, the State of the Rockies Poll found that 78% of westerners “support using our current water supply more wisely by encouraging more conservation and increasing water recycling.“

    Currently, WRA and our partners are working to advance four bills in the Colorado legislature that would allow recycled water to be used for:

  • toilet flushing,
  • marijuana cultivation,
  • edible crop and community garden irrigation, and
  • growth of industrial hemp.
  • Other states, like Florida, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, currently allow for recycled water to be used for toilet flushing and edible crop irrigation, and have successfully supplemented their water supplies this way. Colorado’s Water Plan also specifically calls for state agencies to identify how the state can foster increased reuse to help address growing demands, and these initiatives are a great step in that direction. By embracing water reuse for these applications and others we can help bolster our stretched water supplies, and work to help shrink the gap between those supplies and the demands of our growing cities and towns. Water reuse, in concert with other water-smart tools and strategies, can help us provide for our communities while also protecting our beloved rivers and lakes, keeping them healthy and preserving the quality of life that they afford for all of us.

    Reuse demonstration project at @DenverWater’s recycling plant

    Denver Water’s Recycled Water Treatment Plant and Distribution System opened in 2004

    From The Denver Business Journal (Cathy Proctor):

    Colorado’s next big source of drinking water may be recycling and reusing what customers flush down the drain.

    That’s the idea behind a cutting-edge demonstration project set up at Denver Water’s recycling plant on York Street in north Denver.

    A group of engineering companies and water policy groups set up the project, which has been running since January, to show that metro-area water that normally would be treated and sent down the South Platte River could be captured and cleaned to the point where it’s safe to drink…

    Some of Colorado’s water providers have recycled water for reuse — mostly for irrigation purposes — for more than 50 years, said Laura Belanger, a water engineer with Boulder-based Western Resource Advocates, a policy group.

    But the demonstration project takes the recycling to the next step — treating water via a five-step process to a level where it’s safe to drink.

    The equipment, which can treat up to 15 gallons per minute, mimics nature’s water-cleaning ability but does it much, much faster. A gallon can pass through the system in less than 30 minutes, said Austa Parker, a water reuse technologist with Carollo.

    Water that’s passed through the Metro Waste Water treatment plant and destined for the South Platte River is passed through the system.

    The system involves using ozone, filters and microfilters that are 100 narrower than a human hair. Activated charcoal and ultraviolet light also are part of the process at the demonstration plant…

    The demonstration system is unique in that it doesn’t produce an extremely salty brine that requires its own disposal process, she said.

    Interest in recycling water and using it inside homes is growing across Colorado, Belanger said.

    The Colorado Water Plan, adopted in 2015, called for recycling more water.

    And a group of utilities, state health officials and water recycling enthusiasts are exploring issues around using and drinking recycled water with an eye toward crafting new state-level regulations, Belanger said.

    The cost of building and equipping such a treatment plant depends on many variables, including the quality of the source water and the type of treatment it needs, she said.

    But a recycling plant is cost-competitive when compared to the costs of obtaining and transporting new water supplies, she said.

    From Business Wire:

    Xylem Inc. (NYSE: XYL) has been engaged as a water technology solutions provider to the PureWater Colorado Demonstration Project, which aims to demonstrate direct potable reuse (DPR) as a safe, reliable and sustainable drinking water source. Denver Water has partnered with Carollo Engineers, WateReuse Colorado (WRCO) and Xylem on the project which is located at the Denver Water Recycling Plant and will run during the month of April this year. Some of the water produced will be used to brew beer to raise awareness among the general public about this water purification process.

    Water reuse is part of Colorado’s Water Plan to reduce the amount of water diverted from rivers and streams, creating a sustainable, efficient way to extend the state’s water supplies.

    Steve Green, Business Development Manager, Xylem said, “We are very excited to be part of this forward-looking, important project that aims to promote a sustainable, reliable and safe drinking water treatment process. It is crucial that we implement sustainable solutions, like water reuse, to meet future water needs. We hope that this demonstration will help to raise awareness and understanding among the local population and community leaders about how DPR can help to provide for their water needs now and in the future.”

    A range of Xylem’s solutions including a Wedeco MiPRO advanced oxidation process (AOP) pilot system and a Leopold granulated activated carbon (GAC) filter pilot will be used in the project which features a unique treatment train that avoids the use of reverse-osmosis (RO) membranes and their associated high capital and operating costs as well as brine disposal.

    John Rehring, Vice President, Carollo Engineers said, “As national leaders in water reuse, we were happy to partner with Xylem to demonstrate the use of advanced technologies – an extension of our efforts to develop a regulatory framework, and public outreach activities specific to Colorado.”

    Xylem is a frontrunner in the field of water reuse technology, providing advanced solutions and expertise to reuse applications across the US, as well as globally. In California for example, Xylem’s Wedeco MiPRO advanced oxidation processes (AOP) is operating at Los Angeles Sanitation’s Terminal Island Water Reclamation Plant. The customized solution is the first greenfield AOP design using ultraviolet light with chlorine – a significant innovation to make water reuse more sustainable and cost-effective.

    Last year Xylem signed a multi-year commitment (2017-2019) to support Water Environment Research Foundation (WE&RF) research into water reuse, building on a previous three-year research partnership and solidifying Xylem’s commitment to advancing the use of recycled water. Internationally, Xylem works together with the IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute and the Singapore Public Utilities Board (PUB) to progress water reuse.

    @UCLA: 100% local water possible for Los Angeles by 2050 #ColoradoRiver #COriver

    Map of the Los Angeles River watershed via Wikimedia.

    Here’s the abstract for the recently released study:

    This report assesses the potential to improve water quality standards while integrating complementary One Water Management practices that can increase potential local water supplies for the City of Los Angeles (the City). This final report summarizes the current practices and future opportunities at the City-owned Water Reclamation Plants and underlying groundwater basins and highlights the importance of considering all aspects of integrated water management even when dealing with water quality or supply-focused projects.

    Implementing watershed-scale best management practice programs to meet stormwater permit requirements will significantly improve water quality in all watersheds. However, additional mechanisms such as increasing Low Impact Development implementation and comprehensive source tracking and source control mechanisms will be required to potentially eliminate water quality exceedances. There are multiple efforts occurring in the City and the region to increase the recharge of recycled water into the ground and the volumes of remediated groundwater extracted.

    This research further assessed the impacts of potential water supply portfolios, with greater volumes of locally-supplied water, on GHG emissions and energy needs of supplying LA’s water. Conservation will be another powerful tool to decrease our dependence on imported water. This research demonstrates the complex interrelationships between all aspects of urban water management, including, for example, stormwater management and local water supply.

    Pitkin County embraces reuse of household graywater — @AspenJournalism

    From Aspen Journalism (Brent Gardner-Smith) via the The Aspen Times:

    Pitkin County is now the second county in Colorado that can issue permits for graywater systems that allow some household water to be reused to irrigate lawns and flush toilets.

    Graywater is defined by both the county and the state as water coming from bathtubs, showers, bathroom sinks and washing machines. It does not include water from toilets, urinals, kitchen sinks, dishwashers or non-laundry utility sinks, which is often called blackwater.

    The city and county of Denver was the first to adopt a similar permitting process in 2016, and did so after the state approved guiding regulations in 2015. The Pitkin County commissioners unanimously approved an ordinance last week that sets up the county’s permitting process, which is voluntary.

    The city of Aspen also is considering adopting a graywater permitting system to complement its recently adopted water-efficient landscaping regulations.

    Kurt Dahl, the county’s environmental health manager, said a 1999 statewide study found that typical indoor residential uses amounted to 69 gallons of water per person per day, and of that 28 gallons is graywater as defined by the state.

    Graywater systems work by diverting household water away from its normal course — toward septic tanks and sewage systems — and into another set of pipes and storage tanks, where it sits until it is reused.

    If the water is used for irrigation, the water must be filtered before storage and then, optimally, pumped out into a subsurface drip irrigation system. It cannot be applied via sprinklers.

    If graywater is used to flush toilets, it must be disinfected and dyed before being sent to a toilet.

    Single-family households can store up to 400 gallons of water a day in a tank for either irrigation or toilet flushing, and multi-family and commercial entities can store up to 2,000 gallons a day.

    Graywater systems require double-piping of plumbing systems, which can be expensive to install in existing homes, and so may be better suited, at least economically, to new construction projects.

    Brett Icenogle, the engineering section manager at the Colorado Department of Public Health, said Friday he was happy to see Pitkin County adopt a graywater permitting process, and he hopes other jurisdictions follow suit, even if current public demand seems low today.

    “We don’t want to wait until there is a water shortage to put regulations in place,” Icenogle said.

    The local permitting process begins with the county’s environmental health department, and also requires plumbing and building permits. If used for irrigation, it may also require a state water right.

    Dahl served on a group that developed the state’s regulations, and he’d like to see other uses added to the state’s list, such as fire suppression.

    “I want to get this to the point where using graywater is an option for everyone,” Dahl said.

    Aspen Journalism is collaborating with The Aspen Times on coverage or rivers and water. More at http://www.aspenjournalism.org.

    Commentary: Cape Town Is Running out of Water. Could More Cities Be Next? — @PeterGleick

    Water reuse via GlobalWarming.com.

    From Fortune (Peter Gleick):

    After more than three years of severe drought, Cape Town, a city of nearly 4 million people, is running out of water. “Day Zero”—the day city officials estimate the water system will be unable to provide drinking water for the taps—is less than three months away, and substantial rains are not expected before then.

    In response, city managers have imposed a series of increasingly severe water-use restrictions to cut demand and are working to find emergency sources of supply, but it is difficult to see how a cutoff can be avoided. People will not die of thirst: Emergency water will be brought in for basic needs. But the social, economic, and political disruptions caused by a water cutoff will be unprecedented.

    Cape Town is not alone. California, São Paulo, Australia, the eastern Mediterranean, and other regions have all recently suffered through severe droughts and water crises.

    Short-term droughts and water shortages aren’t new. Under normal circumstances, cities can respond by temporarily cutting water waste. But circumstances aren’t normal anymore. More and more major cities will face their own Day Zero unless we fundamentally change the way water is managed and used.

    The growing water crisis is the result of three factors. First, more and more regions of the world are reaching “peak water” limits, where all accessible, renewable water has been spoken for and no traditional new supplies are available. Second, urban populations and economies are expanding rapidly, putting additional pressures on limited water supplies and increasing competition with agricultural water users. And third, the very climate of the planet is changing because of human activities such as burning fossil fuels, affecting all aspects of our water systems, including the demand for water and the frequency and intensity of extreme events like floods and droughts.

    Where these three factors combine, urban water crises explode.

    The good news is that there are two key solutions to making our cities more resilient to water crises and disruptions: Reduce water demand and find new non-traditional sources of water supply.

    Reducing demand means improving the efficiency of water use and changing water-using behaviors to reduce immediate needs. The first option includes installing efficient irrigation technology, replacing inefficient toilets, showerheads, washing machines, and dishwashers, and eliminating leaks. The second option includes cutting outdoor landscape water use and replacing water-intensive gardens, taking shorter showers, flushing toilets less often, and eliminating luxury water uses like private swimming pools.

    The potential for these two approaches to reduce demand is enormous. During the severe drought in Australia from 2000 to 2009, urban water efficiency measures saved more water at lower cost and greater speed than traditional supply options, like tapping rivers and groundwater. During the drought, water demand dropped 60% in South East Queensland through a combination of investments in water efficiency programs and restrictions on outdoor water use. California urban water use was cut by over 25% during the 2012-2016 drought through similar indoor and outdoor efficiency programs, and there is much potential for even greater savings.

    There are new supply options available too, even in regions where traditional sources are tapped out. South Africa has long pioneered the restoration of watersheds by removing invasive species like blue gum, wattles, and the vine kudzu, and increasing water flows in rivers. Artificially enhancing groundwater replenishment can increase the storage of water far more effectively than building new surface reservoirs. Wastewater treatment and reuse turns what used to be considered a liability into a valuable resource.

    Cape Town currently only treats and reuses 5% of its wastewater—up until now they haven’t thought they had the need—and could greatly expand treatment and reuse. Just next door to South Africa in Namibia, the city of Windhoek has been reusing treated wastewater for decades. About 40% of Singapore’s total water demand is now being met with high-quality treated wastewater. California currently reuses about 15% of its wastewater and has the potential to greatly expand reuse in coming years. And when less costly options have been exhausted, seawater desalination offers a way to provide drought-proof supply.

    It will rain again in Cape Town, and the emergency responses implemented over the next few months will be relaxed. But water problems are not going to disappear until we consistently and comprehensively change the way we think about and manage water. Peak water limits will be felt in more and more regions as traditional sources of water are tapped out. Urban areas will continue to expand. Global climate changes will accelerate and worsen, especially if we delay the transition to clean energy. The sooner we accept these facts, the sooner every city can move to manage water in a more sustainable fashion, postponing or even eliminating the risk of their own Day Zero.

    #CA: Urban designers are incorporating #reuse into building design

    Water reuse via GlobalWarming.com.

    From Water Deeply (Tara Lohan):

    San Francisco is helping to grow adoption of onsite nonpotable water reuse systems by requiring them in large new buildings. Now there is interest in a statewide regulation to streamline permitting while ensuring health and safety.

    IN DOWNTOWN SAN Francisco, a mixed-use 800ft tower nearing completion at 181 Fremont St. features a water treatment system that will provide 5,000 gallons a day of recycled water captured from the building to be used for toilet flushing and irrigation. That will help save an estimated 1.3 million gallons of potable water a year.

    Just down the street, the recently expanded Moscone Conference Center has installed a system to collect and treat foundation drainage, otherwise known as “nuisance groundwater,” that will be used for toilet flushing and irrigation as well by the city’s Department of Public Works for street cleaning.

    Both buildings are among 82 proposed or completed projects in San Francisco that are using decentralized, onsite water-recycling systems to capture and reuse water that would otherwise flow down the drain or run off rooftops to city sewers or into the San Francisco Bay. The treated water that’s captured isn’t used for drinking, but for nonpotable purposes such as flushing toilets and urinals, irrigating landscapes, supplying cooling systems and even generating steam power. In commercial buildings, about 95 percent of water used is generally for nonpotable purposes. In multifamily residential buildings, it’s 50 percent.

    As interest in recycled water grows in California and across the United States, more building professionals are considering these decentralized systems. Up until now, a lack of health and safety regulations at the national and state levels has made the permitting process tricky and slow going. But bottom-up pressure may help create needed regulations…

    This process would be easier for communities if there were established health and safety standards from the state for onsite nonpotable reuse, but so far they’re lacking.

    “We think that from our perspective, if there is clear guidance and regulations that the state establishes, it would make it easier for communities that want to pursue local programs to oversee and manage decentralized water systems,” said Kyle Pickett, managing principal at Urban Fabrick.

    Those regulations could be on the way, but how long it will take is unclear…

    While there are no national or state regulations for onsite nonpotable reuse yet, there is a growing community of professionals sharing resources and expertise. SFPUC’s Kehoe chairs a National Blue Ribbon Commission for Onsite Nonpotable Water Systems, which recently produced a guidebook on water quality standards and management of onsite reuse systems. The commission was established by the U.S. Water Alliance, and it convenes more than 30 water and health professionals from across the country…

    Other efforts are underway, too. Urban Fabrick’s nonprofit arm, the William J. Worthen Foundation, will be releasing a practice guide on January 19 aimed at giving design professionals information about onsite reuse…

    “We don’t do nearly enough water recycling in California, honestly, it’s embarrassing how far behind we are compared to Australia, Israel and other places with very arid environments,” said Wiener. “We have a long-term structural water shortage and we need to modernize our water system and drag it out of the 1850s. Water recycling is a critical aspect of modernizing our water system.”

    @ColoradoStateU: New report details innovations in water reuse

    From Colorado State University (Anne Manning):

    In drought-prone states like California, Colorado and others, every drop of water is precious. A newly published national report provides comprehensive guidelines for innovative water-saving techniques, with Colorado State University expertise playing a key role.

    Sybil Sharvelle, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Colorado State University, September 10, 2015

    Sybil Sharvelle, associate professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and co-leader of CSU’s One Water Solutions Institute, recently chaired a national committee of experts who wrote the new guidelines. They call for safe, cost-effective expansion of water reuse systems in commercial and multi-residential buildings, as well as municipal districts.

    The new “Risk-Based Framework for the Development of Public Health Guidance for Decentralized Non-Potable Water Systems” outlines how to design reliable, efficient and safe building-scale water reuse systems. Such systems aren’t yet widespread, and thanks to the committee’s efforts, municipalities now have guidance to provide developers with regulations, and a consistent approach to projects. A non-potable water program was pioneered in the City of San Francisco several years ago, with a handful of projects coming online in recent years.

    Recycled water for non-potable uses

    Decentralized non-potable water systems use various local water sources and extend to the building, neighborhood or district scale. The report focused on these complex, multi-use systems that go beyond the single residential scale, Sharvelle explained.

    The water systems can use graywater, blackwater, wastewater, roof runoff or stormwater that is collected onsite. This water can then be used for non-potable applications like flushing toilets, running laundry machines or irrigation.

    “These systems are up and coming,” Sharvelle said. “More and more developers are wanting to do them, and systems have popped up here and there, but everything to date has been case by case.”

    Sharvelle, who previously served on a National Research Council panel providing analysis of stormwater and graywater for recycling, chaired the national committee, funded by the Water Environment and Reuse Foundation. The committee created guidelines for protecting public health as decentralized non-potable water systems come online. The guidelines included a microbial risk assessment to determine pathogen reduction targets that was based on new U.S. EPA research.

    “The critical thing here is that developers are wanting to build buildings that are off-the-grid with efficient and sustainable use of resources,” Sharvelle said. “And aside from that, there is the benefit of reduced water use in buildings. Water savings of around 50 percent are easily achieved through these systems. It’s a great way to diversify the portfolio of water sources in a city, in a way that’s not infrastructure-intensive for utilities.”

    CSU’s interdisciplinary One Water Solutions Institute connects CSU expertise and research to the most pressing water challenges of today.

    Secretary Zinke Announces $23.6 Million for Water Reclamation and Reuse Projects and Studies

    Water reuse via GlobalWarming.com.

    Here’s the release from the US Bureau of Reclamation (Peter Soeth):

    Bureau of Reclamation Funding Goes to Six Authorized Projects, Thirteen Feasibility Studies and Four Research Studies in California, Kansas, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Washington

    U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced that the Bureau of Reclamation awarded $23,619,391 to communities in seven states for planning, designing and constructing water recycling and re-use projects; developing feasibility studies; and researching desalination and water recycling projects. The funding is part of the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse program.

    “This funding provides essential tools for stretching limited water supplies by helping communities reclaim and reuse wastewater and impaired ground or surface waters,” said Secretary Zinke. “These tools are just part of the toolkit for bridging the gap between water supply and demand and thus making water supplies more drought-resistant. In addition to this funding, Reclamation is actively supporting state and local partners in their efforts to boost water storage capacity. ”

    Title XVI Authorized Projects are authorized by Congress and receive funding for planning, design and/or construction activities on a project-specific basis. Six projects will receive $20,980,129. They are:

  • City of Pasadena Water and Power Department (California), Pasadena Non-Potable Water Project, Phase I, $2,000,000
  • City of San Diego (California), San Diego Area Water Reclamation Program, $4,200,000
  • Hi-Desert Water District (California), Hi-Desert District Wastewater Reclamation Project, $4,000,000
  • Inland Empire Utilities Agency (California), Lower Chino Dairy Area Desalination and Reclamation Project, $5,199,536
  • Padre Dam Municipal Water District (California), San Diego Area Water Reclamation Program, $3,900,000
  • Santa Clara Valley Water District (California), South Santa Clara County Recycled Water Project, $1,680,593
  • Title XVI Feasibility Studies are for entities that would like to develop new water reclamation and reuse feasibility studies. Thirteen projects will receive $1,791,561. They are:

  • City of Ada Public Works Authority (Oklahoma), Reuse Feasibility Study for the City of Ada, Oklahoma, $136,193
  • City of Bartlesville (Oklahoma), Feasibility Study to Augment Bartlesville Water Supply with Drought-Resilient Reclaimed Water, $150,000
  • City of Garden City (Kansas), Strategic Plan for Reuse Effluent Water Resources in Garden City, Kansas, and Vicinity, $65,368
  • City of Quincy (Washington), Quincy 1 Water Resource Management Improvement Feasibility Study for Comprehensive Wastewater Reuse and Water Supply Project, $150,000
  • El Paso Water Utilities – Public Services Board (Texas), Aquifer Storage-Recovery with Reclaimed Water to Preserve Hueco Bolson using Enhanced Arroyo Infiltration for Wetlands, and Secondary Reducing Local Power Plant Reclaimed Water Demand, $150,000
  • Kitsap County (Washington), Feasibility Study for a comprehensive water reuse project at the Kitsap County Kingston Wastewater Treatment Plant, $150,000.
  • Las Virgenes Municipal Water District (California), Pure Water Project Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, $150,000
  • North Alamo Water Supply Corporation (Texas), Feasibility Study of Energy-Efficient Alternatives for Brackish Groundwater Desalination for the North Alamo Water Supply Corporation, $90,000
  • Oklahoma Water Resources Board (Oklahoma), Feasibility Study of Potential Impacts of Select Alternative Produced Water Management and Reuse Scenarios, $150,000
  • Soquel Creek Water District (California), Pure Water Soquel – Replenishing Mid-County Groundwater with Groundwater with Purified Recycled Water, $150,000
  • Valley Center Municipal Water District (California), Lower Moosa Canyon Wastewater Recycling, Reuse, and sub-regional Brine Disposal Project, $150,000
  • Washoe County (Nevada), Northern Nevada Indirect Potable Reuse Feasibility Study, $150,000
    Weber Basin Water Conservancy District (Utah), Weber Basin Water Conservancy District Reuse Feasibility Study, $150,000
  • The Title XVI Program will provide funding for research to establish or expand water reuse markets, improve or expand existing water reuse facilities, and streamline the implementation of clean water technology at new facilities. Four projects will receive $847,701. They are:

  • City of San Diego (California), Demonstrating Innovative Control of Biological Fouling of Microfiltration/Ultrafiltration and Reverse Osmosis Membranes and Enhanced Chemical and Energy Efficiency in Potable Water, $300,000
  • City of San Diego (California), Site-Specific Analytical Testing of RO Brine Impacts to the Treatment Process, $48,526
  • Kansas Water Office (Kansas), Pilot Test Project for Produced Water near Hardtner, Kansas, $199,175
  • Las Virgenes Municipal Water District (California), Pure Water Project Las Virgenes-Truinfo Demonstration Project, $300,000
  • Reclamation provides funding through the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program for projects that reclaim and reuse municipal, industrial, domestic or agricultural wastewater and naturally impaired ground or surface waters. Reclaimed water can be used for a variety of purposes, such as environmental restoration, fish and wildlife, groundwater recharge, municipal, domestic, industrial, agricultural, power generation or recreation.

    Since 1992, Title XVI funding has been used to provide communities with new sources of clean water, while promoting water and energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. In that time, approximately $672 million in federal funding has been leveraged with non-federal funding to implement more than $3.3 billion in water reuse improvements.

    Expanding the Role of Reclaimed Water

    Your Water Colorado Blog

    One of the main resources needed by any garden, including Denver Urban Gardens‘ (DUG) community gardens, is water. Since 1985, DUG has been working in the Denver Metro area to create sustainable, food-producing community gardens, and today operates more than 155 gardens, with 30 of those located on the grounds of Denver Public Schools (DPS).

    2005-girl-watering-and-smiling-at-curtis-parkPhoto Credit: Denver Urban Gardens

    “School community gardens connect students, parents, teachers and the larger neighborhood community,” says Shannon Spurlock, director of public affairs and policy for DUG. “Our goal is to support the farm to school movement that introduces students to fresh, healthy, food choices that will lead them to make good food choices in the future.”

    In the interest of sustainability, DPS has a long-term goal of switching all of their outdoor irrigation systems over to reclaimed water; however, an increase in the use of reclaimed water for irrigation could cause the…

    View original post 730 more words

    #ColoradoRiver: Floating new ideas for water solutions — @ASU #COriver

    The Colorado River Basin is divided into upper and lower portions. It provides water to the Colorado River, a water source that serves 40 million people over seven states in the southwestern United States. Colorado River Commission of Nevada
    The Colorado River Basin is divided into upper and lower portions. It provides water to the Colorado River, a water source that serves 40 million people over seven states in the southwestern United States. Colorado River Commission of Nevada

    From Arizona State University (Click through for the photos):

    From desalination to homes with dual pipe systems, scientists and policy analysts exploring wide-ranging strategies

    Editor’s note: This is the second in a three-part series examining the work that ASU is doing in the realm of water as a resource in the arid West. Today, we explore technology and innovative approaches.

    Mike Reisbig moored his boat there on an August afternoon. The Huntington Beach man, a football coach at Long Beach City College in California, has been coming to Temple Bar for about 50 years.

    “I’ve noticed a lot of changes,” he said. “I’ve been here when the water’s all the way up, going to the spill wells, to where it is today. It’s a scary sight. You don’t know whether you’re going to be able to get your boat on the water anymore or not. It’s such a beautiful place. It’s the only place I’ll bring this boat. … It’s getting scarier each year, trying to figure out how to get it in the water. We seem to figure out a way and get it in. This is the best lake I’ve ever been to, and I’m going to keep going.”

    His parents discovered the lake decades ago.

    “It just has become one of those things the family does,” Reisbig said. “Believe it or not, I brought a 3-month-old baby up here with this heat in this boat, so she could experience this lake. I know she doesn’t remember any of it, but she comes up here every year. It’s just what the family does. I have yet to find a better place to bring a boat. It’s perfect out here. You’ve got your rough days, and you’ve got your beautiful days. It’s just perfect. It doesn’t get better.”

    Like Reisbig, hydrologists, policy analysts and researchers are figuring out ways to keep going in the arid West. Here you’ll hear about technology and innovation behind water.

    Straws in the ocean

    It’s possible that the West will someday get to the point where new water supplies need to be found. One possibility being discussed in Arizona is building a plant to remove salt from seawater in Mexico on the Gulf of California.

    The idea is in the early stages, but the broad outline of how it would work goes like this: Arizona builds it, Mexico uses it, and we take their Colorado River allotment.

    Building — and permitting — a plant in California would be so expensive it’s not on the table.

    “A lot of people are very pessimistic about desalination and its future,” Rhett Larson said. “I’m one of the optimists. I actually think that it’s going to be a big part of water-supply solutions, and probably sooner than people realize.

    “The technology’s come a lot further. A lot of people think about desalination as just, ‘Well, it’s insanely expensive and nobody will ever do it,’ but the technology has come a long way and I think it has a really bright future.”

    Larson is a fifth-generation Arizonan.

    “I grew up worrying about water,” he said. “I’m one of the weirdos who actually went to law school wanting to be a water lawyer.”

    Larson, an associate professor in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, is a senior research fellow with the Morrison Institute of Public Policy and sits on the advisory board of the Morrison Institute’s Kyl Center for Water Policy.

    A privately owned desalination plant opened in Carlsbad, California, last December. Under a 30-year operating agreement with the San Diego County Water Authority, the plant produces 56,000 acre-feet per year. Most water managers call an acre-foot — one acre covered by water a foot deep — enough water for a suburban family for a year.

    “That water’s cheaper for San Diego (residents) than pumping the water from the Colorado River,” said Larson, pointing out that the river water would require the construction of a pipeline across the state.

    Sarah Porter, director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at ASU, is not a believer.

    “I think a lot of the talk about desal (desalination) is wishful thinking,” she said. “People want an easy fix.”

    Desal water from the Carlsbad plant is selling at more than $2,000 per acre-foot. SRP water is about $16 per acre-foot. Putting $2,000 acre-foot water on crops doesn’t make any sense.

    “I think if we build a desal plant in Mexico, and that water were used in Mexico as a substitute for Colorado River water, I’m not sure how Mexico’s allotment of river water results in residential water,” Porter said. “The percentage that’s agricultural water is extremely cheap water, and it’s hard to figure out how you could use ocean desal for crops in a way that made sense.”

    Desal plants also need constant demand. We usually build infrastructure and then demand catches up with it.

    “I don’t think we should build something before we have the demand for it,” Porter said. “It’s a huge investment. … If we do get desal, (who pays for it) will definitely be municipal users, not growers.”

    The ick factor

    Reusing water is a huge part of the solution to close the demand gap.

    “You don’t need a new supply if you’re reusing,” pointed out John Sabo, a School of Life Sciences professor who studies riverine ecology and freshwater sustainability. Reclaimed water is also cheaper than desalinated seawater. “We do need to work at becoming more efficient, because in the future that’s going to be our primary source for growth.”

    ASU’s Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) program studies urban ecology. It has been ongoing for the past 20 years. Biological, physical, engineering and social scientists are studying eight aspects of what happens when you plop a city in a desert. Nancy Grimm
    directs the project and has worked on it since the beginning.

    One part of the study was looking at the reuse of treated wastewater for drinking water across the United States.

    “The findings would be surprising to you, because there’s a lot more reuse of water in that particular interaction — between treated wastewater and reuse as drinking water or as municipal water — than you would think,” Grimm said.

    “In some places it becomes really important during droughts. So in Texas, for instance, some of the cities are definitely using a pretty high proportion of the treated wastewater as municipal water supply. So there’s sort of what they call the “yuck” factor, the “ick” factor associated with that, but there’s really quite a lot of research that suggests that the water is quite safe.”

    One of Sabo’s ideas is homes with two sets of pipes: one for potable water and one for reused water, which would go into the toilet, onto landscaping, etc. It would be an expensive retrofit, but one that could be gradually phased in. (When electricity came along, not everyone had their homes wired at once, for example.)

    Golf courses and fake lakes already use reclaimed water.

    “Why can’t everybody have some access for their outdoor watering to treated wastewater?” Grimm asked. “Those kinds of ideas are things that we’re exploring in CAP LTER, with people from the community, so government officials, people from flood-control districts in Maricopa County, various community leaders and so forth, we’ve been having these workshops that are creating what we’re calling sustainable future scenarios for Phoenix.”

    Phoenix has been using reclaimed water on a huge scale since the 1960s. It cools Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, irrigates farmland and recharges aquifers. The city will use even more in the future, water services director Sorensen said.

    “We’ve been pioneers in that, literally decades ahead of other communities,” she said. “Its importance will increase in the future. … That means the value of reclaimed water will increase. It means the importance of really managing our wonderful aquifer here increases exponentially.”

    Future H2O

    One of ASU’s three main water initiatives is Future H2O, unveiled by Sabo at a White House Water Summit in March. It’s a five-year plan focused on identifying opportunities for domestic and global water security. ASU researchers will partner with private and public sectors to find solutions to difficult water problems. The whole idea is to focus on the situation at hand, rather than hoping it will change.

    “Where are the opportunities of the future to do better?” Sabo described it.

    It has five pillars, one of which is aimed at averting what water managers call “the Silver Tsunami,” the imminent retirement of a lot of water professionals with institutional memory and expertise.

    “The opportunity is the next generation is going to be more capable of harnessing the technology that surrounds us because they’re embedded in that technology,” Sabo said. “They know how to use it. The next generation is going to build on what the incumbents have left us, which in Arizona is quite strong.”

    Two other areas of focus are:

    • Developing funding for an urban landscape design and renovation campaign that reduces residential outdoor water use in at least one Phoenix metro service area by a third by 2025.

    • Delivering research and advice to at least 10 of the largest corporate water users in the U.S. to scope, plan and implement restoration projects at scales that improve water reliability in stressed water basins nationwide.

    Sabo created a software tool that helps corporations apply analytics to how they use water, simultaneously helping water conservation, habitat restoration and their bottom lines. It’s being used by Dow Chemical at their west Texas operations on the Brazos River.

    “It tells Dow how to meet their water bottom line for manufacturing by creating wetlands instead of creating gray infrastructure,” said Sabo.

    The nature of desert cities

    One of things Grimm’s long-term desert cities project looks at is how storm water moves through the city and how it’s handled.

    She’s interested in the idea that cities are potentially really good experimental test beds for thinking of water as a unified system. She envisions a city water department that manages drinking water, wastewater and storm water holistically.

    “Some of that is going on in Phoenix, because Phoenix has been pretty innovative about things like reusing treated wastewater for watering golf courses and filling up fake lakes and things like that,” she said.

    What happens when you plop a city in the middle of a desert? How does that affect the way water moves and behaves?

    “We know very little about that,” said hydrologist Enrique Vivoni
    , an associate professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration.

    Vivoni is interested in how changes in climate and land cover affect water as a resource. He uses observations of sensors and satellite data and computer modeling of hydrological systems.

    “The movement of hydrologists studying cities in depth is actually very new,” he said.

    Most other schools specialize in natural systems hydrology, like rivers, mountain watersheds and wetlands.

    “None of them have this special expertise on human-environment relations in cities, where water is important currency,” Vivoni said. “Humans are primarily going to be urban dwellers moving forward. As a species, more than half of us live in cities. We do all these changes around us, and we have almost no clue about how the system works internally.

    “Part of my work at ASU is on that angle: understanding, measuring, quantifying and eventually predicting how water moves, is transformed and flows through desert cities. My work focuses on arid and semi-arid areas.”

    What does climate change and covering land with a city do, in concert or separately, to alter hydrological systems? When it comes to hydrology, codes and regulations don’t have much to offer: Don’t create more runoff than would have been produced without the development, make sure that water has a place to go, and that’s about it.

    “We don’t tell our developers, ‘Make sure your development does not increase urban heat,’ ” Vivoni said. “That’s not in our regulations. What I’m trying to get at is we’ve built cities with very little hydrologic and atmospheric science in mind. ‘Just do it. The consequences we’ll figure out later.’ ”

    What Vivoni’s group does is provide datasets, models and model outputs that can inform policy from science.

    “I think we have to be a little more proactive about our water resources,” he said. “That’s going to require more science in our agency.”

    Vivoni feels there needs to be more emphasis put on soft infrastructure: plans, policies, procedures, modeling systems, operational plans that say if the drought is this severe, we’re going to do this; if it’s that severe, we’re going to do that.

    “How can we prepare the planners, the cities, the decision-makers with information and knowledge beforehand so that there are plans in place that can be followed under the eventual drought that will eventually hit us someday? That’s squarely in the academic world, and ASU is well-prepared with its social science and natural science expertise to contribute to that.”

    Bridging the gap between science and policy is called “sociohydrology.” It’s a recognition that the natural science community hasn’t taken humans into account well enough in their work.

    Government used to speak only to consultants.

    “We’re at a phase now where academia is starting to play a role,” Vivoni said. The university provides consulting that’s broader than just an engineering goal that needs to be met.

    “It can’t only be from one angle,” he said. “It can’t only be from the engineering angle, and it can’t only be from the anthropological angle. It has to be from some combination of lenses. … We’re trying to improve models that can be used in context with stakeholders, to have them have access to tools that can enhance decision-making. I’m at the technical back end of that. I’m not the person with the skills to interface directly with the Phoenix water manager.”

    How ASU ended up bridging the gap between science and government

    Water in the West in general has historically been a by-product of agriculture. Grady Gammage Jr. explained how ASU arrived where it is now.

    Gammage (son of ASU’s third president) wears a lot of hats. If there’s a public or private board making important decisions about the state, you can count on seeing him there. He is an academic, a lawyer, an author, a real-estate developer and a former elected official.

    At ASU, Gammage is a senior fellow at ASU’s Morrison Institute, the Kyl Center for Water Policy, and a senior scholar at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. He also teaches at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

    When he was in high school, he had a summer job with Salt River Project. “I’d get to drive around and look at the dams,” he told an oral history interviewer in 2007. “That was sort of my first exposure to Western water issues a little bit.”

    “We study water, we think about water, we produce water, we build big water projects, all because of the heritage of the Bureau of Reclamation and John Wesley Powell and the creation of the great Western water projects,” he told ASU Now. “That means that the places where water has historically been studied the most are the land grant institutions, where it’s a by-product of the study of agriculture. The (University of Arizona) has been the water school, forever, and it is a world leader in hydrology and those kinds of things. That’s been weird, because ASU should have been the land grant school. Agriculture is here; it was never in Tucson. But, for historical reasons, it happened differently. ASU has had to come at this from the non-agriculture perspective.”

    Gammage thinks that’s beneficial to the perspective ASU brings to water, because the West isn’t about agriculture any more. It’s about people and cities.

    “Sometimes that historical overhang of the cultural legacy of water in the West distorts the way water is studied and planned and dealt with,” he said.

    Gammage said ASU’s policy orientation — “big-picture water policy” — has evolved over the past 10 or so years.

    “I think the niche for ASU is more to focus on the arid West and the way in which water and water rights are managed and adjudicated going into the future,” he said. “That’s why I’m excited about Rhett (Larson) being here. The Kyl Center for Water Policy is a really good idea. To me, that’s the more comfortable niche to exploit: the legal and policy aspects of water. That’s what I do; that’s what I like. I’m not a scientist.”

    #cwcsc16: Colorado Water Congress Summer Conference 2016

    Steamboat Springs
    Steamboat Springs

    I’m at the conference getting ready for the first session: Leading the way with direct potable reuse in Colorado. Panel with moderator Doug Kemper (Colorado Water Congress), Myron Nealey (Denver Water), John Rehring (Carollo Engineers).

    CWC has an iPhone app up at the app store. Search for CWC and scroll down to CWC Summer Conference.

    Nice bike ride up the Yampa River from my campsite west of town. The Sheraton Steamboat Springs lets you check your bike and park it in a room out of the elements.

    Aurora Water sells $437 million in bonds to re-fund water plant debt — The Denver Post

    prairiewaterstreatment

    From the City of Aurora via The Denver Post:

    Looking to capitalize on historic-low bond rates, Aurora Water on Thursday sold $437 million in bonds toward re-funding debt associated with its Prairie Waters Project, making it the largest municipal bond issue in the state this year.

    With a net savings of $68.6 million, the issue consolidates two other issues and a state loan, water department officials said in a news release.

    The Prairie Waters Project was completed in 2010 at a cost of $637 million. It recaptures water Aurora already owns in the South Platte River, beginning in Weld County, and makes full use of Aurora’s mountain and agricultural water rights, increasing the city’s water supply by up to 12 million gallons per day. The water comes from 23 wells that use a riverbank filtration process, pulling water through hundreds of feet of sand and gravel to remove impurities.

    The bonds were offered on July 20 and July 21, with first priority given to Colorado residents and businesses.

    31st Annual WateReuse Symposium, September 11-14

    waterreuse

    Click here for all the inside skinny and to register. From the website:

    Join us for the 31st Annual WateReuse Symposium in Tampa, FL on September 11-14. The annual event brings together water managers and industry leaders to network with the best and brightest in the field and learn what’s working and what’s next in water reuse policy, operations, technology and public perception.

    City water supply could be tested by climate change — The Aspen Daily News

    Smuggler Mine back in the day via GregRulon.com
    Smuggler Mine back in the day via GregRulon.com

    From The Aspen Daily News (Curtis Wackerle):

    If climate change renders the Western Slope warmer and drier, and if historic growth rates keep up, then Aspen’s water utility could have trouble meeting consumer demand without depleting minimum in-stream flows in Castle and Maroon creeks over the next 50 years.

    Aspen City Council on Monday heard a presentation from consultants hired to evaluate the adequacy of the municipal water supply. Wilson Water Group put together a report forecasting demand and available supply over a 50-year outlook, and found that in the worst-case climate change scenario, the city could miss in-stream flow targets on Castle and Maroon creeks by between 4 and 9 cubic feet per second during the “irrigation months” of June through September.

    The city has committed to a 13 cfs minimum flow in Castle Creek, and 14 cfs in Maroon. Both creeks are tapped to feed municipal needs through diversion structures that send water to Thomas Reservoir, a holding bay for the city’s treatment plant.

    Even if the worst-case scenario projections come to pass in terms of climate change and population growth — demands on the city’s water system historically have risen by about 1.2 percent a year, according to special projects utilities engineer Phil Overeynder — the city has other ways to shore up its water supply.

    One project that has been on the drawing board for years would pump treated wastewater uphill from the sanitation plant to irrigate the city’s golf course.

    The city also controls three wells in town drawing from the local aquifer. If irrigation for city parks increasingly relied on those wells, then more water could be left in Castle and Maroon creeks.

    Combined with more water conservation, or restrictions in drought years, depletion of in-stream flows could be avoided, consultants report.

    City council agreed to adopt the 2016 Water Supply Availability Study, and continue monitoring hydrologic conditions.

    Council also heard a presentation on Monday from another consultant that analyzed threats to the water supply and water quality. Given that Aspen’s water originates in high mountain valleys, wildfire poses perhaps the most imminent and hazardous threat. A bad fire in the Castle or Maroon watersheds could be detrimental to water quality in those streams, and subsequent mudslides could also cause problems.

    There is also the abandoned Pitkin Iron Mine above Ashcroft that drains into Copper Creek, a Castle Creek tributary.

    The Colorado Rural Water Association conducted a study for the city assessing the best ways to mitigate these threats.

    Creating a buffer zone against wildfire near the diversion structures on Castle and Maroon creeks, while continuing to develop plans to limit wildfire debris flow into Thomas Reservoir, were among the study’s top recommendations.

    More work to control erosion at the Pitkin Iron Mine site was also recommended. However, the consultant noted that the Pitkin Iron Mine did not make the list of the state’s 200 most pressing mine cleanup needs.

    Denver: 20th Annual WateReuse Research Conference, May 22-24

    Denver photo via Allen Best
    Denver photo via Allen Best

    From the Water Reuse Foundation website:

    The latest research focused on helping communities develop resilient water supplies will be presented at the 20th Annual WateReuse Research Conference in Denver, CO on May 22-24, 2016. The Research Conference provides a unique opportunity for water professionals and researchers to interact, network, and discuss current research and future trends. This solutions focused event will provide water professionals and industry with tools to address water scarcity and sustainability challenges.

    Click here to register.

    WISE water project honored — Castle Rock News-Press

    WISE Project map via Denver Water
    WISE Project map via Denver Water

    From the South Metro Water Supply Authority via The Castle Rock News-Press:

    The South Metro [Water Supply] Authority received a 2016 Metro Vision Award from the Denver Regional Council of Governments for the WISE Partnership.

    The Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency Partnership (WISE) is a regional water supply project between Aurora Water, Denver Water and members of the South Metro Water Supply Authority. First conceived in 2008, the partnership combines water supplies and system capacities to create a sustainable new water supply for the region.

    The WISE Partnership will benefit roughly 2 million people and it will bring a sustainable water supply to south metro communities. When water deliveries begin in early 2017, some of Colorado’s fastest-growing communities will be able to partially replace non-renewable groundwater.

    DRCOG’s Metro Vision awards are presented to individuals and programs who contribute outstanding efforts to the Denver region and its communities, and to DRCOG’s programs and activities. The regional council has been honoring outstanding achievements for more than 30 years.

    EPA Announces $3.3 Million in Funding for Water Reuse and Conservation Research/Research will measure health and ecological impacts of water conservation practices

    Here’s the release from the Environmental Protection Agency (Cathy Milbourn):

    Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced funding to five institutions to research human and ecological health impacts associated with water reuse and conservation practices.

    “Increasing demand for water resources is putting pressure on the finite supply of drinking water in some areas of the United States,” said Thomas A. Burke, EPA Science Advisor and Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “The research announced today will help us manage and make efficient use of the water supply in the long term.”

    Water conservation practices that promote water reuse are becoming increasingly important, especially in the western United States, where factors such as climate change, extreme drought, and population growth are decreasing water availability. To help promote sustainable water reuse, this research will evaluate how reclaimed water applications such as drinking water reuse, replenishing groundwater, and irrigation can affect public and ecological health.

    EPA announced these grants in conjunction with the White House Water Summit, which was held to raise awareness of water issues and potential solutions in the United States, and to catalyze ideas and actions to help build a sustainable and secure water future through innovative science and technology.

    The following institutions received funding through EPA’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program:

    Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) Alexandria, Va. to actively identify contaminant hotspots, assess the impact of those hotspots on human and ecological health, and quantify the impact of water reuse and management solutions.

    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Urbana, Ill. to develop a new framework to understand how adaptive UV and solar-based disinfection systems reduce the persistence of viral pathogens in wastewater for sustainable reuse.

    Utah State University, Logan, Utah to assess the impacts and benefits of stormwater harvesting using Managed Aquifer Recharge to develop new water supplies in arid western urban ecosystems.

    University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nev. to quantify microbial risk and compare the sustainability of indirect and direct potable water reuse systems in the United States.

    University of California Riverside, Riverside, Calif. to measure levels of contaminants of emerging concern in common vegetables and other food crops irrigated with treated wastewater, and to evaluate human dietary exposure.

    More information on these grants is available at: https://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/recipients.display/rfa_id/591/records_per_page/ALL

    artificialrechargeusgs2011

    Bureau of Reclamation Funding Opportunity for Water Reclamation Research Under Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program

    Purple, which has become the international symbol for recycled water, is used on valve boxes, manhole covers, newer sprinkler heads and even the pipes inside our Recycling Plant via Denver Water.
    Purple, which has become the international symbol for recycled water, is used on valve boxes, manhole covers, newer sprinkler heads and even the pipes inside our Recycling Plant via Denver Water.

    Here’s the release from the US Bureau of Reclamation (Peter Soeth):

    The Bureau of Reclamation has made a new funding opportunity available for water entities in the Western United States to conduct water reclamation research under the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program.

    This cost-shared funding opportunity, available at http://www.grants.gov as opportunity number R16-FOA-DO-011, helps communities address water supply challenges by providing much-needed funding for research to establish or expand water reuse markets, improve water reuse facilities, or upgrade new facilities with state of the art technology.

    It is expected that up to $2 million will be available for this funding opportunity. Research sponsors must provide 75 percent or more of the study costs.

    Funding will be awarded in three categories. Funding group I will be for projects up to $75,000 per agreement for a research study up to 18 months; funding group II will be up to $150,000 per agreement for a research study up to 24 months; and funding group III will be up to $300,000 in federal funds for a research study that can be completed within 36 months.

    State, regional, or local authorities; Indian tribes or tribal organizations; or other entities including water districts, wastewater districts, or rural water districts, will be eligible to apply for this funding opportunity. Applicants must be located within the 17 Western States or Hawaii. Applications are due by 4 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time on April 20, 2016.

    Title XVI projects provide communities with a new source of clean water, while promoting water and energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. Title XVI supports the President’s “Climate Action Plan,” and the “Executive Order—Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change.”

    This funding opportunity is also an important part of Reclamation’s WaterSMART Program, which supports the White House’s Water Innovation Strategy to address Water Resource Challenges and Opportunities for Water Technology Innovation. For more information about Title XVI or Reclamation’s WaterSMART program, http://visit http://www.usbr.gov/watersmart.

    Recycled water system celebrates 10 years

    Mile High Water Talk

    The Denver Water Recycling Plant, pictured here, celebrates a decade of service.  The Denver Water Recycling Plant, pictured here, celebrates a decade of service.

    Water is a precious resource here in the West, much too precious to use just once. That’s why Denver Water started a program to treat and recycle wastewater. There are more than a dozen wastewater recycling programs in Colorado, and Denver Water operates the largest recycled water system in the state.

    And, the system is celebrating a milestone birthday …

    Recycled water system celebrates 10 years

    By Ann Baker, Denver Water Communications and Marketing

    When Denver Water’s recycled water system opened a decade ago, it distributed water through nine miles of pipe to 12 large water users.

    Since then, the system has grown seven times that size, sending water through 65 miles of pipe to more than 80 customers, including parks and golf courses, the Denver Zoo, schools, homeowners associations and industrial complexes, and has plans to…

    View original post 254 more words

    Reuse: The WISE Partnership gets approval from the Denver Water Board

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    From the Denver Business Journal:

    Denver Water last week approved the WISE partnership agreement that clears the way for the utility to delivery treated water to the area’s southern suburbs.

    Approval of WISE, which stands for Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency, formalizes the regional cooperative water project. The agreement calls for the permanent delivery of 72,250 acre-feet of treated water from Denver and Aurora to members of the South Metro Water Supply Authority (SMWSA).

    SMWSA was formed in 2004 from the banding together of smaller water utilities in south Denver.
    With the agreement now in place, some of the water that currently flows down the South Platte River and out of the state would be recaptured by Aurora’s 34-mile Prairie Waters Pipeline and pumped back to the Peter D. Binney Water Purification Facility near the Aurora Reservoir. There, the water would be treated and piped to the southern suburbs.

    The water delivery will begin in 2016. Members of the SMWSA must have infrastructure in place to move the water from the purification facility. The cost of the water and infrastructure for its delivery is estimated at $250 million over the next 10 years. Each member will independently determine how to finance their share of the project.

    The participating members of SMWSA are the town of Castle Rock, Dominion Water & Sanitation District, Stonegate Village Metropolitan District, Cottonwood Water & Sanitation District, Pinery Water and Wastewater District, Centennial Water & Sanitation District, Rangeview Metropolitan District, Parker Water & Sanitation District, Meridian Metropolitan District and Inverness Water & Sanitation District.

    More WISE Partnership coverage here.

    Denver: 28th Annual Watereuse Symposium will take place September 15 – 18

    waterreuse.jpg

    Here’s the pitch:

    There is still time to register for the 28th Annual WateReuse Symposium!

    Join us September 15-18 at the Denver Marriott City Center in Denver, CO for 111 technical presentations, seven panel and roundtable discussions, networking events, and a popular Exhibit Hall.

    Click here to register.

    2013 Colorado legislation: Governor Hickenlooper signs HB13-1044 (Authorize Graywater Use) #COleg

    graywatersystem.jpg

    From the Northern Colorado Business Report (Steve Lynn):

    Rep. Randy Fischer, D-Fort Collins, and Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, introduced House Bill 1044. Hickenlooper signed the bill at Colorado State University on Wednesday. The bill directs the Colorado Water Control Commission to create statewide standards for gray water systems. It defines graywater as water coming from bathroom and laundry room sinks, bathtubs, showers and laundry machines. “Graywater does not include the wastewater from toilets, urinals, kitchen sinks, dishwashers or non-laundry utility sinks,” the bill states…

    The new law lets cities, towns and counties decide whether to approve graywater use in residential and commercial settings.

    More HB13-1044 coverage here. More 2013 Colorado legislation coverage here.

    Parker Water and Sanitation District board is evaluating joining with Aurora and Denver in the WISE project

    parkerrhodeislandhotel1908bestofparker.jpg

    From the Parker Chronicle (Chris Michlewicz):

    The Parker Water and Sanitation District board of directors will hear a presentation later this month from new manager Ron Redd, who will recommend that the district enter into WISE, the Water, Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency project. Six members of the South Metro Water Supply Authority, including Pinery Water and Wastewater, the Cottonwood Water and Sanitation District and Stonegate Village Metropolitan District, committed to WISE by signing intergovernmental agreements in late March. The agreements will bring nearly 7,000 acre-feet of recycled water to the south metro area…

    The Parker Water and Sanitation District board asked Redd to examine the possibility of buying 500, 1,000 or 1,500 acre-feet through the WISE project. He was expecting to receive the results of a cost analysis on April 5 to determine the possible financial impacts. Any rate hikes on customers would likely be implemented incrementally and equate to about 2.5 percent to 3 percent per year, Redd said, cautioning that those figures are preliminary. The cost of WISE water increases annually over an eight-year period.

    It would be relatively easy, Redd said, to move the reclaimed WISE water from Aurora to Parker if the district can come to an agreement to use a pipeline along E-470 owned by East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District. If the board gives approval, the intergovernmental agreement would be signed by late May…

    Rueter-Hess Reservoir, which contains 5,700 acre-feet of water and was built to store 70,000 acre-feet, will be paid off by the time the Parker Water and Sanitation District takes on more debt to build pipelines to transport the water that will be needed for the future.

    Meanwhile, Centennial has inked an IGA with the WISE Partnership. Here’s a report from Ryan Boldrey writing for the Highlands Ranch Herald. Here’s an excerpt:

    Centennial Water and Sanitation District was one of six members of the South Metro Water Supply Authority to sign an IGA this past week committing to more renewable water by way of the Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency Partnership. Through the agreement, Aurora Water and Denver Water will provide roughly 7,000 acre-feet of fully treated water annually to participating SMWSA members and deliver it in phases, starting in 2016. As part of the IGA, the participating South Metro WISE entities have agreed to fund new infrastructure that will move the water from Aurora’s Binney Water Purification Facility to its end locations. “A region-wide water solution makes more sense than having each water entity fending for themselves to source, treat and deliver renewable water to customers,” said Eric Hecox, executive director of SMWSA. “We’re excited about the progress we’re making through WISE towards transitioning the region from nonrenewable groundwater to renewable water.”

    Hecox said that the agreement helps provide SMWSA with about a third of the necessary water that participating entities will need long-term. From here, work will continue on the Chatfield Reallocation Project as well as of other options and alternatives to bring more water to the region…

    For Centennial Water specifically, it’s another step toward cementing a long-term supply and not relying as much on groundwater or leased water. “We’ve got many years of full supply, but some of that full supply comes from leases that are not long-term,” said Centennial Water and Sanitation District General Manager John Hendrick. “We want to add to our portfolio with long-term or near-permanent surface water sources…

    Other SMWSA members committing to the project at this time are Cottonwood Water, Meridian Metropolitan District, Pinery Water, Rangeview Metropolitan District and Stonegate Village Metropolitan District. Hecox said he expects Dominion, Inverness, Castle Rock and Parker water districts to sign the IGA by the end of April. SMWSA members not expected to take part in the IGA include: Castle Pines Metro, Castle Pines North, East Cherry Creek Valley, and Arapahoe.

    More WISE coverage here.

    2013 Colorado legislation: HB13-144 (Authorize Graywater Use) to get a hearing Wednesday in state Senate committee #COLeg

    graywatersystem

    From The Denver Post (Lynn Bartels):</p

    Graywater is wastewater in a building that comes from showers, hand-washing sinks and washing machines. It does not come from toilets, urinals or kitchen sinks. Colorado is the only western state that doesn’t allow treated graywater to be used for flushing toilets, landscaping and such, but a proposal scheduled to be heard Wednesday in a Senate committee would change that.

    House Bill 1044, by [Senator Gail] Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, and Rep. Randy Fischer, D-Fort Collins, legalizes the use of graywater, calls for the development of regulations to protect the public health and gives cities and counties the discretion to offer graywater permits to single- or multi-family dwellings.

    Bill supporters say a household with four people could save 58,000 gallons a year if it had a graywater filtration system installed.

    The House unanimously passed the measure, which will be heard Wednesday by the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee. Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, who sits on the committee, said he’s excited to hear the bill. “As long as we can protect the downstream users’ historical rights, there is nothing wrong with this idea,” he said. “A lot of money and energy goes into cleaning up water to bring it to drinking water standards, merely to put it on lawns and flush toilets, and we don’t need to do that.”

    Schwartz also addressed that point, saying a number of Colorado’s wastewater treatment facilities are aging and need to be updated. She said the use of graywater would mean less input into those plants.

    Fischer said he got the idea for carrying the bill from two Colorado State University professors who have been working on graywater issues. They have a graywater disinfectant vat set up in one of the residence halls and have been testing the system.

    More 2013 Colorado legislation coverage here.

    HB13-1044 (Authorize Graywater Use) passes the state house, now on to the state senate

    graywatersystem.jpg

    From email from State Representative Randy Fisher:

    I’m pleased to announce that one of my top priority bills for the 2013 legislative session, HB-1044, was passed in the House on third reading on April 5. If the bill becomes law, it will authorize the use of graywater recycling in Colorado and will provide Coloradans with a powerful and readily available water conservation tool.

    HB-1044 has its roots at CSU where professors Larry Roesner and Sybil Sharvelle have conducted foundational research and development on graywater systems. Drs. Roesner and Sharvelle are the co-directors of the Urban Water Center at CSU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Both professors have spent countless hours at the Capitol advocating for passage of HB-1044. They have earned my respect and gratitude for their efforts to help write and advocate for the bill.

    “Graywater” consists of the discharge from fixtures other than toilets, kitchen sinks, and dishwashers that is collected and recycled within residential, commercial, or industrial facilities with minimal treatment in accordance with public health standards. HB-1044 amends Colorado’s public health statutes to allow more efficient first-use of water by enabling the recycling of graywater within the facilities in which it is generated. Graywater reuse is an important municipal and industrial water conservation tool that has the capability of reducing per capita water consumption by up to 30%.

    The Coloradoan newspaper had a very positive editorial about HB-1044 in its Sunday, February 3, edition. Here is a link to the article:

    http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20130202/OPINION01/302020020/Editorial-Fischer-leading-way-water-bills.

    A critical vote on the HB-1044 occurred last week when the House Appropriations Committee voted to approve a small general fund appropriation required by the health department for rulemaking. The approval of the appropriation paved the way for consideration of the bill in the House. The Senate will begin deliberation on HB-1044 in the coming days.

    More 2013 Colorado legislation coverage here.

    Boulder: Council to consider new agreement to allow testing of graywater system for dormitory

    graywatersystem.jpg

    From the Boulder Daily Camera (Erica Meltzer):

    The city’s Water Resources Advisory Board has already recommended approval of the agreement. The Boulder City Council will consider it Tuesday.

    The dorm, which opened in fall 2011, houses 500 students near Baseline Road and 30th Street and received top green credentials from the U.S. Green Building Council, becoming the only residence hall of its size in the nation to earn the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design platinum rating for its sustainability features. However, the university hasn’t yet been able to take advantage of additional plumbing installed during construction that would allow water from sinks and showers to be captured, filtered, treated and reused for flushing toilets. That’s because case law around water rights in Colorado protects downstream users from the potential loss of water that gets reused instead of being returned to the watershed…

    However, that may be less of a concern when graywater is used in toilets — which ultimately send water into the same wastewater treatment system that handles water from sinks and showers — than it is when graywater is used for irrigation, Arthur said.

    As part of the agreement, CU will carefully monitor water use in the building and report all that information to the city. Arthur said that will allow city officials to assess the impact of graywater systems on the larger water delivery and treatment system and might provide the basis to lobby for changes to state law…

    In the meantime, the city is designating water from the Western Slope that it receives through the Colorado-Big Thompson water project for Williams Village North. Because that water is not from the Boulder Creek watershed, it’s subject to different rules and is eligible for reuse, Arthur said. That way, no downstream users should complain they aren’t getting all the water they are owed.

    More graywater reclamation coverage here and here.

    Glenwood Springs: Council approves the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement

    coloradorivercooperativeagreementmap.jpg

    From The Aspen Times (John Stroud):

    Glenwood Springs City Council voted 5-1 at its Thursday meeting to sign the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement. The vote came more than a month after the proposal was first presented for council’s consideration.

    “It’s unheard of that so many entities are willing to talk about what works for everyone,” Councilman Stephen Bershenyi said, in favor of signing onto the agreement.

    Added Mayor Matt Steckler, “It’s not perfect, but this is something we have been working on for over a year. I don’t see what not signing it is going to do.”

    Councilman Dave Sturges dissented, saying he supports the efforts to reach an agreement on the use of Colorado River water. But he felt the agreement fell short in some areas and that the public had not had an adequate opportunity to weigh in.[ed. True, the agreement was hammered out under Non-Disclosure agreements amongst the parties.] “We’re not under the gun to act on this,” Sturges said. “There are still some questions, and I think the public ought to assist us in how we view those questions.”

    More Colorado River Cooperative Agreement coverage here.

    The Denver Post editorial board weighs in on the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement

    coloradorivergranby.jpg

    From The Denver Post:

    One of the linchpins is that Denver Water, which serves more than 1.3 million customers on the Front Range, gets approval for the expansion of Gross Reservoir near Boulder. The utility needs the project so it may ensure adequate water for customers on the northern edge of its service area…

    The agreement calls for Western Slope parties to not oppose — and in some cases support — the Moffat Collection System project, which includes the reservoir expansion.

    More Colorado River Cooperative Agreement coverage here.

    Denver Water, Grand and Summit counties sign the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement

    coloradoriverbasincgs.jpg

    From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

    Gov. John Hickenlooper presided over a ceremonial signing of agreements among Denver Water, Grand and Summit counties and the Clinton Ditch & Reservoir Co. on Tuesday in Hot Sulphur Springs.

    More Colorado River basin coverage here.

    Aurora: Peter D. Binney water treatment plant receives national award

    uvpretreatmentbinneyplant11172010

    From the Aurora Sentinel:

    Aurora’s Peter Binney Water Purification Facility received the Marvin B. Black Excellence in Partnering Award last month for representing exemplary partnership and collaboration in construction projects like the Prairie Waters Project. The national honor was awarded by The Associated General Contractors of America.

    More Prairie Waters coverage here and here.

    Mark Pifher (Aurora water): ‘We don’t plan to buy or lease any more water in Arkansas basin in the near future’

    arkansasriverbasin.jpg

    From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

    Aurora’s water rights include nearly all of the Rocky Ford Ditch in Otero County, about one-third of the Colorado Canal in Crowley County and water from 1,750 acres of ranches in Lake County. Those rights provide an average yield of 22,800 acre-feet per year — the equivalent of 80 percent of the potable water used by Pueblo each year.

    – Aurora also uses the Homestake Project, Twin Lakes, Busk-Ivanhoe diversion and the Columbine Ditch to bring water from the Western Slope through the Arkansas River basin and into the South Platte basin. The average yield of those water rights is about 21,500 acre-feet annually.

    – The city can reuse its Arkansas and Colorado basin water imports, and has built the $650 million Prairie Waters Project to directly recapture flows, rather than exchange them.

    – Aurora’s South Platte water rights include wells, ranches, ditches and direct flow from the South Platte. They total about 46,000 acre-feet annually.

    – Aurora has an agreement to trade 5,000 acre-feet of water a year with Pueblo West from Lake Pueblo to Twin Lakes beginning next year. It will replace a similar agreement with the Pueblo Board of Water Works that expires this year.

    – The Pueblo water board sells Aurora 5,000 acre-feet of water each year.

    – Aurora has a contract with the Bureau of Reclamation to store 10,000 acre-feet of water in Lake Pueblo and to move the same amount to Twin Lakes by paper trade.

    – The water is moved from Twin Lakes to Spinney Mountain Reservoir through the Homestake pipeline system…

    “We don’t have any current plans beyond what we’re already doing,” said Mark Pifher, director of Aurora water. “We don’t plan to buy or lease any more water in Arkansas basin in the near future.”

    Instead, the city will continue developing Prairie Waters, a reuse project that pumps sewer return flows through a filtration and purification system, only at about 20 percent capacity so far. Aurora calculates that its average yield from its Arkansas River basin water rights is about 22,800 acre-feet annually. That’s roughly one-fourth of its total yield from its entire system, which includes South Platte and Colorado River basin rights. From a practical standpoint, Aurora does not move all of its water out of the Arkansas River basin each year.

    More Aurora coverage here and here.

    NSF International Publishes First American National Standard for Water Reuse Systems

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    Here’s the release from NSF International:

    NSF International, a global public health and environmental organization, has published the first American national standard for commercial and residential onsite water reuse treatment systems, NSF/ANSI 350: Onsite Residential and Commercial Reuse Treatment Systems. The new standard complements NSF’s expanding scope of environmental standards and sustainable product standards, which help establish criteria for and clear methods of evaluating environmental and sustainable product claims.

    NSF/ANSI 350: Onsite Residential and Commercial Reuse Treatment Systems establishes criteria to improve awareness and acceptance of water reuse technologies that reduce impacts on the environment, municipal water and wastewater treatment facilities, and energy costs. According to the American Water Works Association, 84 percent of residential water is used in non-drinking (non-potable) water applications such as lawn irrigation, laundry and toilet flushing. Residential and commercial builders, architects and regulators are turning to onsite wastewater reuse systems as a solution to increasing water scarcity and energy costs associated with the treatment and distribution of municipal water and wastewater.

    Certifying a water reuse system to NSF/ANSI 350 also satisfies requirements for leading green building programs. The U.S. Green Building Council has included reference to NSF/ANSI 350 in their LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Building Design & Construction 2012 Draft Standard. Products certified to NSF/ANSI 350 also could satisfy graywater use strategies under the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) National Green Building Certification program as an innovative practice.

    NSF developed this American national standard for evaluating onsite water reuse technologies to ensure the systems properly treat graywater (i.e. wastewater generated from activities such as laundry and bathing) and combined wastewater (i.e. all sources of wastewater generated within a residence or building) for reuse in non-potable applications. NSF/ANSI 350 establishes materials, design and construction, and performance requirements for onsite residential and commercial water reuse treatment systems and sets water quality requirements for the reduction of chemical and microbiological contaminants for non-potable water use. Treated wastewater (i.e. treated effluent) can be used for restricted indoor water use, such as toilet and urinal flushing, and outdoor unrestricted water use, such as lawn irrigation.

    Shawnee, Kansas-based Bio-Microbics, Inc., a manufacturer of clean technologies, is the first company to earn NSF/ANSI 350 certification for their Bio-Barrier® membrane bioreactor (MBR). NSF scientists conducted an evaluation spanning more than six months of continuous operation of the Bio-Microbics Bio-Barrier® MBR treatment system at one of NSF’s approved wastewater testing facilities.

    “Certification to NSF/ANSI 350 positions onsite water reuse technologies as a viable solution to increasingly overburdened water and wastewater treatment facilities, water scarcity, and increasing costs associated with energy and water use,” said Tom Bruursema, General Manager of NSF Sustainability. “Innovative clean technology manufacturers, such as Bio-Microbics, can now demonstrate the acceptability and effectiveness of their products, helping these technologies to be adopted more quickly into the marketplace.”

    “Bio-Microbics is proud to be the first to earn certification against the new NSF water reuse treatment standard, which provides a sustainability benchmark to certify water reuse products,” said Bob Rebori, President of Bio-Microbics. “With green building and sustainable products becoming the focus of regulators, commercial and residential builders, and consumers, this new standard provides the water reuse industry with a way to meet the needs of their customers and set their products apart from those with unsubstantiated environmental claims.”

    To learn more about NSF/ANSI Standard 350, contact Tom Bruursema at nsf350@nsf.org, +1.734.769.5575 or visit nsf.org/info/nsf350. Click here to purchase a copy of the standard…

    About NSF International (NSF): NSF International (nsf.org) has been testing and certifying products for safety, health and the environment since 1944. As an independent public health and safety organization, NSF’s mission is to protect human health and the environment through standards development, auditing, testing and certification for the food, water, build/construction, retail, consumer products, chemical and health science industries. Operating in more than 150 countries, NSF is committed to protecting human health worldwide and is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Food and Water Safety and Indoor Environment. NSF Sustainability draws upon this expertise in standards development, product assurance and certification to help companies green their products, operations, systems and supply chains. NSF also founded the National Center for Sustainability Standards, a national initiative to support the development of sustainability standard activities.

    More graywater reclamation coverage here.

    WaterSMART Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program Construction Grant Funding Opportunity Now Available

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    Here’s the release from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Peter Soeth):

    A Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program grant funding opportunity is now available through WaterSMART. The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking sponsors of congressionally authorized Title XVI projects to request cost-shared funding for the planning, design or construction of those projects. The funding opportunity announcement is available at http://www.grants.gov using funding opportunity number R12SF80050.
    In response to feedback received, Reclamation has updated the application process to ask project sponsors to describe the benefits of the entire authorized project and to communicate funding needs for the next two years.

    Through the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program, a water reuse project reclaims and reuses municipal, industrial, domestic or agricultural wastewater and naturally impaired ground or surface waters. Reclaimed water can be used for a variety of purposes, such as environmental restoration, fish and wildlife, groundwater recharge, municipal, domestic, industrial, agricultural, power generation or recreation. Water reuse is an essential tool in stretching the limited water supplies.

    In 2011, Reclamation funded 12 projects for $20.1 million through the Title XVI Program.

    The WaterSMART Program focuses on improving water conservation, sustainability and helping water resource managers make sound decisions about water use. It identifies strategies to ensure that this and future generations will have sufficient supplies of clean water for drinking, economic activities, recreation and ecosystem health. The program also identifies adaptive measures to address climate change and its impact on future water demands.

    Proposals must be submitted as indicated on http://www.grants.gov by January 17, 2012, 4:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. It is anticipated that awards will be made this spring.

    More reuse coverage here.

    Prairie Waters Project Receives Project Management Institute’s Prestigious 2011 PMI Project of the Year Award

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    Here’s the release from the Project Management Institute via Market Watch:

    Aurora, Colorado, USA has been challenged by decades of rapid population growth combined with limited opportunities to expand its water supply in an arid environment. This already significant challenge was exacerbated in 2002 by severe, multi-year drought, requiring the city and its water managers to quickly design and implement a long-term solution in response to future water shortage conditions. The Prairie Waters Project, led by CH2M HILL, marked one of the largest water-related public works projects in Colorado in more than 35 years. Its exemplary innovation and completion, two months ahead of schedule and US$100 million under budget, has made it the 2011 recipient of the Project Management Institute’s prestigious PMI(R) Project of the Year Award.

    “An urgent water need pushed the city to take an innovative look at ways to achieve not only meeting the community’s water needs quickly, but to preserve the city’s high standards for water quality,” said Larry Catalano, manager of capital projects for the City of Aurora. “The significant complexities of the project included stringent cost constraints, stakeholder involvement, environmental restrictions, and the pressure to execute a project on an exceptionally fast schedule. The project team consistently went above and beyond the call of duty and delivered ahead of schedule and under budget. We are honored that PMI recognized the hard work, collaboration and dedication of the entire team that worked to create the Prairie Waters Project.”

    The Prairie Waters Project succeeded in spite of extreme environmental challenges. With only a nine-month supply of water available for a population of approximately 300,000 at that time, city leaders and CH2M HILL were tasked with identifying a sustainable, long-term water supply to protect against future droughts. After reviewing over 50 possible scenarios, the city identified the Prairie Waters Project as the fastest, most cost-efficient and most sustainable way to deliver more than 10,000 acre feet of new water to the city by the end of 2010.

    The success of the project, originally projected to cost $854 million, resulted in a newly constructed pipeline, pump stations and a treatment plant that will ultimately deliver up to 50,000 acre feet, meeting Aurora’s needs through 2030. Eight significant stakeholder agreements, 145 land parcels and 44 permits were acquired for approval and completion of the project, which took six years to complete and spanned nearly 40 miles in length. Through the use of skilled project personnel, the rigorous application of project management standards, processes and techniques, and the use of earned value management (EVM) techniques, the PWP was able to cut $100 million from the budget in the design phase without compromising quality and safety, bringing the construction budget to $754 million. Value engineering techniques enabled the team to fast-track the project two months ahead of schedule and an additional $100 million below this amended budget. The project was delivered in October 2010 at just under $653 million.

    “The City of Aurora’s Prairie Waters Project clearly illustrates how project management standards and practices, properly applied, can help deliver a solution that is transformative to a community,” said Mark A. Langley, President and CEO of PMI. “This project demonstrates best practice solutions that show agility and effective stakeholder engagement. PMI commends Aurora Water and the entire project team for these outstanding results.”

    Aurora Water was presented with the 2011 PMI Project of the Year Award on Saturday, 22 October 2011 during the PMI Awards Ceremony at the PMI(R) Global Congress 2011–North America in Dallas, Texas.

    More Prairie Waters coverage here and here.

    The Castle Pines Metropolitan District nixes participation in the WISE project

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    From the Aurora Sentinel (Sara Castellanos):

    In a letter sent Oct. 12 from Paul Dannels, district manager of the Castle Pines Metropolitan District, to Rod Kuharich, executive director of the [South Metro Water Supply Augthority], Dannels said the board of directors decided not to proceed with the project. “Simply stated, the high cost of the Project and the uncertainty of water delivery do not make sense for the District at this time,” Dannels wrote in the letter. “We wish you great success with the Project which appears more feasible for larger users. They can deal better with both the uncertainty of water availability and the high Project costs than smaller users such as the District.”[…]

    Greg Baker, spokesman for Aurora Water said the project, dubbed the Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency partnership, doesn’t require that all 15 entities of the SMWSA take deliveries for the project to be successful. Roxborough and the East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District have already indicated that they had other resources they could develop and wouldn’t take water from the WISE partnership, Baker said. “Each member of the SMWSA must assess the value of participation in relation to their individual systems and needs,” Baker said. “SMWSA has indicated that the commitments from many of the other members have already met or exceeded the initial 10,000 acre-feet provided for by the proposed delivery agreement.”

    More Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency partnership coverage here.

    Aurora: Prairie Waters adds 10,000 acre-feet of supply to treated water supply system over the last year or so

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    From the Aurora Sentinel (Sara Castellanos):

    “The process from day one has cranked out excellent water,” said Kevin Linder, Binney’s plant supervisor. The facility, with its massive pumps and state-of-the-art machinery, has processed and treated “downstream” water from the South Platte River and Aurora Reservoir as part of the drought-hardening Prairie Waters project. The water is collected from river-bank wells a few miles below the point where treated sewage water is poured back into the Platte. The project broke ground in July 2007 and came online in October 2010 with the goal of collecting water from the South Platte River in Brighton and delivering it to the city through a 34-mile-long, uphill pipeline. Prairie Waters has increased Aurora’s water supply by about 20 percent and delivered 10,000 acre-feet of water over the past year…

    The project came to fruition because city officials realized they had reusable return rights in the South Platte River that they weren’t taking advantage of. Reusable return rights allow the city to reclaim water that has been used already. The city has owned those reusable return rights for decades, but until now, there was no mechanism in place to return the water directly from the South Platte River to the city.

    More Prairie Waters coverage here and here.