Here's an in-depth look at Aurora's water system, from The Pueblo Chieftain. It's important to understand where the city gets it's water. They highlight each area of supply for the city, sources in-basin and out. Prairie Waters gets a good look. The project is a reuse project for water from out of basin. Out of basin water can be used to extinction. From the article:
The immediate future of Aurora Water is tied to the development of the $750 million Prairie Waters Project, an ambitious water reuse strategy that is attracting national attention. Aurora is developing the water it already owns by reusing its share of wastewater return flows in the South Platte River. Under Colorado water law, water introduced from other basins may be reused until it is gone. Agricultural water rights Aurora bought in the South Platte basin also may be reused, since only the historic consumptive use is transferred. Aurora initially could realize 10,000 acre-feet from the project by 2010. "This project will be one of the most drought-hardened water projects in the state," [Dana Ehlen, acting director of Aurora Water] said...
Other projects on tap include Box Creek Reservoir, "The project would construct a 200-foot dam and provide between 20,000 and 56,000 acre-feet of storage. 'The most likely size is 30,000-35,000 acre-feet,' said Kathy Kintzman, of Aurora's engineering staff."
They're exploring fen engineering, "Aurora, the Pueblo Board of Water Works and other agencies are engaged in a test project to see if fens in the area can be physically moved as a way to mitigate the possibility they would be flooded."
Aurora still wants to develop their rights on the Eagle River with new storage,
"We weren't about to let 20,000 acre-feet of water slip away," Pifher said. "We've never given up our original points of diversion, because you don't want to give something up unless there's something to take its place."
One of those somethings could be a large high-pressure, underground reservoir on the Eagle River at the site of the former Camp Hale, Pifher said. The camp was used to train troops in the 10th Mountain Division during and just after World War II. At 10,000 feet, the alluvial sands and gravel are replenished by snowpack towering mountains on three sides. Aurora and its partners are testing to see how much water might be pumped from the formation.
Part of the deal could be to return meanders to the Eagle River, which was straightened and fed with drain tiles when the Army built Camp Hale.
Please read the whole article. The Chieftain does a terrific job. Click on a couple of ads while your there -- help them keep the lights on.
More Coyote Gulch coverage here, here, here, here, here and here.
In other Aurora water news, BuRec has finished their review of the Aurora Long-Term Storage contract, according to The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:
The Bureau of Reclamation this week completed its review and released a copy of a proposed 40-year contract for storage and exchange of water in Lake Pueblo to Aurora. The contract would allow Aurora to store up to 10,000 acre-feet of water in a Lake Pueblo account that could be emptied and refilled as needed. The storage space aids Aurora in exchanging water rights from Crowley and Otero counties upstream to Twin Lakes, where it takes the water out of the valley through the Otero Pumping Station. In an exchange, water is released from the downstream point to replenish depletions from the upstream diversion. The contract also would allow an annual exchange of up to 10,000 acre-feet, a paper trade, that helps Aurora move water without a physical exchange...
Money from the contract will repay federal costs for building the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project under current plans. No copies of the finished contract were immediately available, but the terms were negotiated earlier this year in public sessions. A copy of the contract was mailed to Aurora late Thursday, said Kara Lamb, a spokeswoman for the bureau. "We've completed our review and put it in the mail last night," Lamb said.
More Coyote Gulch coverage here.
Category: Colorado Water