City of Greeley 2018 budget

Greeley in 1870 via Denver Public Library http://photoswest.org/cgi-bin/imager?10009071+X-9071

From The Greeley Tribune (Tyler Silvy):

The council will officially vote on the $367 million budget Oct. 17…

The city has a variety of construction projects on the horizon for 2018, but none are more costly than those projects related to water.

Greeley’s portion of a new reservoir will cost $38.2 million, and the city will spend $44.4 million to renovate the Bellvue Water Treatment Plant near the mouth of the Poudre Canyon. Bellvue has been in operation one way or another for more than 100 years.

Water-related projects often are paid for through municipal bonds, and the city’s water department is allowed to take on the debt without a vote of the residents because it is an enterprise fund and can charge more for services to pay down the debt.

Milton-Seaman Reservoir expansion update

From The Greeley Tribune (Tyler Silvy):

Expanding the 5,000-acre-foot capacity reservoir has been on Greeley officials’ to-do list for more than a decade. But the type of work the city is planning takes a lot of time, mainly because it involves the federal government.

If everything goes without a hitch, Greeley officials have circled 2030 as the year they’ll increase Seaman to 10 times its current capacity…

Here’s why:

» Greeley has never expanded any of its six reservoirs, and most have been around for nearly a century.

» Increasing Seaman to 53,000 acre-feet of water from 5,000 acre-feet will put Greeley in position to satisfy the city’s water needs for decades. (An acre foot of water is enough water for two families to use for a year). The city uses between 25,000-30,000 acre-feet of water per year: That’s expected to reach 40,000 acre-feet by 2030.

Harold Evans, chairman of the water and sewer board in Greeley, likens the Seaman’s expansion to the kind of planning that has kept water flowing from the city’s Bellvue Treatment Plant area since 1907…

Right now, Greeley is working with a consultant and in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers to develop an environmental impact statement.

Greeley is still about two years away from having a draft of that statement.

In the meantime, Greeley officials are working to secure more water rights. The city doesn’t have enough rights to fill the expanded Seaman Reservoir. They’re 40 percent there, and as Reckentine said, it’s an everyday process. Every year, in fact, Greeley commits millions toward purchasing water rights.

Expanding the reservoir could cost $95 million more just in construction costs, according to an estimate provided in a Colorado Water Conservation Board document.

Water rights come from a variety of places, including retiring farms.

Today, Greeley typically uses its reservoirs as drought protection.

Basically, Greeley has water rights from the Colorado, Poudre, Laramie and Big Thompson rivers. But whether Greeley is able to get all of the water it’s owed depends on the rivers’ flow levels.

In drier years, Greeley would have to do without some of that water. That’s where reservoirs come in. Evans said the first reservoirs were used to finish Greeley area crops when river flows weren’t strong enough to do so in late fall.

Snowmelt and water diverted into reservoirs could be tapped for that purpose. Evans said it’s like putting money in the bank. Pound-for-pound, water’s worth more than money, though.

If and when the Seaman Reservoir expansion is complete, Greeley will likely use some of the water from that reservoir every year.

For Evans, that’s a perfect example, among many, of an investment in the future.

Evans mentions the new pipeline from the Bellvue Water Treatment Plant being installed now, with a lifespan of 75-100 years. The Seaman Reservoir has been around since the 1940s.

ABOUT MILTON SEAMAN RESERVOIR

» Built 1941

» Storage: 5,008 acre-feet

» Elevation: 5,478 feet

» Dam height: 115 feet

» Proposed enlargement date: 2029

» Proposed storage: 53,000 acre-feet

SET FOR LIFE?

The Seaman Reservoir expansion will put Greeley in a good position, but Deputy Director of Greeley Water Eric Reckentine hesitates to call it the final answer.

Greeley has a four-point plan when it comes to water:

» Maintain what you have — Greeley has reinforced water lines with concrete and fiberglass to reduce leaks.

» Secure supply to stay ahead of demand — The Windy Gap Project, which ensured water during lean times, is an example of this.

» Build storage for the lean times — The Milton Seaman Reservoir expansion project is the best example of this.

» Conserve the water you have — Greeley has a state-approved water conservation plan, and the new water budgets are another example of conservation.

THE OTHER RESERVOIRS

Here’s a quick look at Greeley’s other five reservoirs:

» Barnes Meadow Reservoir — Built in 1922 and located across Colo. 14 from Chambers Lake in the Roosevelt National Park, Barnes Meadow Reservoir holds 2,349 acre-feet of water.

» Peterson Lake Reservoir — Built in 1922, and located southwest of Chambers Lake and adjacent to Colo. 156, Peterson Lake Reservoir holds 1,183 acre-feet of water.

» Comanche Reservoir — Built in 1924, and located along Beaver Creek and west of the Colorado State University Mountain campus, the Comanche Reservoir holds 2,628 acre-feet of water.

» Hourglass Reservoir — Built in 1898, and also located along Beaver Creek and west of the Colorado State University Mountain campus, the Hourglass Reservoir holds 1,693 acre-feet of water.

» Twin Lakes Reservoir — Built in 1924, and located southwest of Pingree Park off Colo. 14, Twin Lakes Reservoir holds 278 acre-feet of water.

From The Greeley Tribune (Tyler Silvy):

Doug Billingsley doesn’t know what he’s going to do to replicate the peace and quiet of his work when he retires and re-enters the hubbub of normal life. Greeley pays Billingsley to live at Milton Seaman Reservoir, about 15-20 minutes from the mouth of the Poudre Canyon. Billingsley lives in a city-provided house, and has lived there for the past eight years with his wife, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, and her caretaker.

Billingsley monitors the Seaman Reservoir. The reservoir is Greeley’s largest, and its water levels can rise and fall quickly. He must ensure the banks and dams are sound and functioning properly, and he’s charged with releasing water down the Poudre Canyon when necessary. Call him the water shepherd.

He’s used to the solitude, if not the quiet.

“I drove over the road truck for 18 years, and was by myself for up to 30 days at a time — I lived in a truck,” Billingsley said. “This is no biggie; this is heaven.”

The city pays him a salary as well as his living expenses. But there’s a catch: He’s on call 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

The floods of 2013 are a prime example. And Billingsley spent the better part of a week stuck at home after a bridge went out, trapping folks up the canyon. Of course, he had to monitor Seaman’s water levels during the flood, as well.

Billingsley’s wife loves having him at home every night, and he loves being there.

Apart from animals there’s nothing to bother a Seaman Reservoir caretaker. They’ve seen elk, mountain lions, bears, but none of them hurt anybody, he says.

@GreeleyWater wins 13th annual “Best of the Best” Tap Water Taste Test

Cache la Poudre River

From The Greeley Tribune (Tyler Silvy):

Greeley ought to bottle this stuff.

The water in your tap — the stuff you pay pennies per gallon for — just earned recognition as the best tasting water in the United States.

This week, the American Water Works Association rated Greeley’s water the best tasting in the nation, as Greeley beat out 33 other regional winners. The city also became the first to win the national competition and People’s Choice Award at the organization’s annual conference in the 13-year history of the competition.

Greeley also is the first Colorado municipality to win the award.

And then there’s this: This was the first year Greeley has entered the contest.

“I was hopeful,” Greeley Water and Sewer Director Burt Knight said. “But I never expected to win both awards.”

Still, Knight said the awards didn’t tell him anything he didn’t already know.

“What it does is it confirms the choice our forefathers made when they went up to the mouth of the Poudre and built the treatment plant and pipeline in 1907,” Knight said. “I know we have high-quality water. All we needed to do is get everybody else to agree.”

Now that they have, Knight and others are pondering how, exactly, they’ll spike the football.

“It’s something we’ll need to think about leveraging,” City Manager Roy Otto said, adding the city has used its extensive water portfolio to attract businesses in the past. “But quality is something we need to spend time communicating to people — not only to residents, but others who might be coming to Greeley, as well.”

There are strict rules for the water competition. Greeley was sent special containers and coolers. Officials took water from one of the treatment plants and shipped it off to Philadelphia, where the annual convention was held.

Once there, contest officials remove any labels to ensure a blind taste test for judges.

To get there, Greeley had to win its regional competition last fall. And as a result of its national win this year, Greeley gets an automatic bid to the national competition next year.

Will the city enter?

“If you’re the Broncos, and you win the Super Bowl, you want to defend your title,” Knight said.

But that’s for next year. For now, Greeley officials are happy celebrating the victory.

Otto said he’s proud of the tradition and legacy of water in Greeley, saying the award is an affirmation of that.

W.D. Farr

“W.D. Farr has a big smile on his face in heaven right now,” Otto said, referencing the Greeley water pioneer.

After Farr died, Greeley bottled some of the town’s water, labeling it “Greeley Gold.” Otto still has a bottle.

“I would put Greeley’s water supply up against any bottled water across the country,” Otto said.

From The Denver Post (Tom McGhee):

Greeley, a city known for both agriculture and food processing businesses, can now boast it has the best tasting tap water in the United States and Canada.

The Greeley Water and Sewer Department won the 13th annual “Best of the Best” Tap Water Taste Test conducted by the American Water Works Association. Montpelier, Ohio, took second place and Bloomington, Minn., had the third-best tasting tap water.

Greeley represented the Rocky Mountain Section of the American Water Works Association in the contest held in Philadelphia, Pa. The Rocky Mountain group includes water companies from cities in Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico, said Greg Baker, spokesman for the organization. It is the first time that any member of the Rocky Mountain association has won the contest, Baker said.

The event, composed of regional winners from water-tasting competitions across North America, was held at American Water Works Association’s Annual Conference and Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Fifteen regions participated in the contest, including some in Canada and Puerto Rico.

Cache la Poudre River watershed via the NRCS

@GreeleyGov: Water & Sewer Annual Summer Tour, June 30, 2017


Click here to register and read about the event:

The Greeley Water & Sewer Board invites residents to this year’s facility tour to learn more about how water and sewer is treated, where the water comes from, and the various ways water is used. Residents will tour the Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF) and Boyd Lake facilities and learn about system exchanges, points of diversion, and non-potable systems. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Those interested in attending should contact Ettie Arnold at 970-350-9812 before June 23. Space is limited.

Get more information about Greeley’s Water System at http://www.greeleygov.com/water.

Keystone: Greeley Water wins taste and odor competition at RMSAWWA conference

LadyDragonflyCC -- Creative Commons, Flickr
LadyDragonflyCC — Creative Commons, Flickr

From KDVR.com:

Nine municipalities from a three state region competed for the title of best drinking water based on taste, odor and appearance.

The judges at a taste test at the 2016 Rocky Mountain Section of the American Water Works (RMSAWWA) annual conference in Keystone deemed Greeley as the city with the best water in the region.

Nine municipalities from a three state region competed for the title of best drinking water based on taste, odor and appearance.

The winner of this competition will represent the RMSAWWA at the national “Best of the Best” taste test at the AWWA Conference in Philadelphia next June.

Castle Rock Water was named runner-up.

Greeley Water closing in on new rate structure to encourage conservation

Greeley in 1870 via the Greeley Historical Society and the Denver Public Library
Greeley in 1870 via the Greeley Historical Society and the Denver Public Library

From The Greeley Tribune (Catharine Sweeney):

Greeley water officials are continuing to push a new water rate system that would provide residents with incentives to cut their consumption, and local leaders are warming up to the idea.

The Water and Sewer Board went over the plan again during its meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Today, Greeley residents pay a flat rate for water that doesn’t take into account how much they use, and regionally, that’s rare.

“Really, Greeley and Loveland are the only cities left in northern Colorado that have uniform rates,” said Eric Reckentine, the department’s deputy director of water resources.

A few cities, such as Aurora and Colorado Springs, charge their residents in uniform blocks for usage.

Greeley officials find the blocks arbitrary. Someone who irrigates a lawn that’s 1,000 square feet obviously will use more water to do so than someone who owns a 500-square-foot lawn.

Greeley is opting for a tiered water rate based on a water budget, or calculated allowance, water planners give residents. Planners use the number of people in a household and the amount of land the resident could irrigate to decide how many gallons a month each home should use. They allot 55 gallons per person per day. They give a little more than two gallons per square foot of irrigable land.

A four-person family on an average lot would get 21,000 gallons per month.

Under the new plan, the family would pay $3.88 per 1,000 gallons within the budget, and the rate would increase incrementally as the water usage exceeded the budget.

There are four tiers. If residents are within budget, using 100 percent or less of the allotment, they get the reduced rate. If use falls between 100 and 130 percent of the allotment, it’s considered inefficient use, and it will cost $4.74 for each 1,000 gallons in that range. If residents keep overusing and get into the 130-150 percent of their allotment range, they’ll pay $6.04 for that segment. If they get past 150 percent of their allotment, that will cost $8.62 for every 1,000 gallons.

The extra cost didn’t come in increments when city officials first heard the plan in February. Anything outside the budgeted water was charged at the highest tier a resident hit.

“You paid that amount for all of it,” Mayor Tom Norton said during an interview. “It was kind of more of a punishment.”

Greeley and water department officials said the goal was to recover costs for overuse, which is about 300 acre-feet every year. An acre-foot of water is how much an average family uses in a year.

“That’s several million dollars worth of water,” Water Board Chairman Harold Evans said.

The latest newsletter from The City of Greeley’s Water Conservation Program is hot off the presses

waterfromtap
Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:

If you notice an unexplained large spike in water use or want to find a way to lower your water bill, it may be time for a free water audit. It’s a personalized consultation on your water use. Our auditors will also install new showerheads and faucet aerators. Sign up today!