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Platte Valley Water Partnership
The Platte Valley Water Partnership was launched in 2021 between the Parker Water & Sanitation District (PWSD) and the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District (LSPWCD) with a goal of finding innovative, long-term water solutions for the agricultural communities in northeastern Colorado and the municipal communities located along Colorado’s Front Range.
The work of the PVWP is focused primarily on a project that would make joint use of water that would otherwise leave the State of Colorado and existing water rights and infrastructure that the entities own and operate near Sterling, Colo. The project also includes the construction of new infrastructure to store and convey the water. Through the Partnership, PWSD and LSPWCD intend to share these resources for agricultural use in Logan, Washington, and Morgan counties, and for municipal use by PWSD to meet future municipal demands.
Why are we doing this?
The partners see this as a unique opportunity to optimize existing and future water resources, using newly constructed shared infrastructure, to set a precedent for a mutually-beneficial relationship between agricultural and Front Range water communities in Colorado.
PWSD’s current water resources are sufficient to meet existing demands, but with a population that’s projected to double by build-out, and with the Denver Basin groundwater supplies diminishing over time, PWSD’s ultimate goal is to diversify its water resources portfolio to be comprised of at least 75% renewable water.
With the construction of a shared project infrastructure, LSPWCD will be able to capture, store, and use its water resources more effectively for irrigation purposes. These improvements will help to optimize operations necessary to meet their members’ needs.
In order to accomplish its goals, the PVWP intends to build a new 4,000 acre-foot (AF) reservoir (Iliff Reservoir) near PWSD-owned land in Logan County where water will be diverted and stored, and make use of existing Prewitt Reservoir storage agreements. A pipeline, pump stations, and treatment facility will also be built as part of the project. Furthermore, a 72,000 AF reservoir (Fremont Butte Reservoir) will also be completed in future phases of the Partnership.
An initial rendering of the plan is available in PWSD’s 2015 Long-Term Water Supply Plan (PDF). While some of the details have changed over time, this is a good big picture overview of the project.
How are you going to protect the communities impacted by this project?
Our goal is to protect and work with the communities and individual business and land owners who will be affected by this project. During typical conditions, the intent is for our tenant farmers to make use of existing senior water rights for irrigation purposes and continue the farming operations.
How much is this going to cost?
We estimate a cost of approximately $800 million for the entire Platte Valley Water Partnership project. $560 million has been built into PWSD’s long-term planning and rate structure and would be adequate to complete a first phase. We are currently in discussions with additional entities who may be interested in participating in some portion, or all, of the project.