“Yes” to More Water Storage

Sep 8, 2015 | Uncategorized

The formal comment period to the Army Corps of Engineers regarding the Northern Integrated Supply Project (known as ‘NISP’) is now over. Earlier this summer the Corps released its Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project. NISP is a proposed water storage and distribution project with 40,000 acre feet of new water supply and would be owned by the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District (known as ‘Northern Water’).

Two reservoirs are part of NISP: Glade and Galeton. The largest is Glade, which at 170,000 acre feet is a little bigger than Horsetooth Reservoir. It would be northwest of Fort Collins, straight north of Horsetooth. Other aspects include pumping facilities, a forebay reservoir, pipelines and improvements to an existing canal.

Due to lack of storage facilities, Northern Colorado loses a significant amount of to which it is entitled to surrounding states during wet years like 2015.

While the City of Fort Collins owns other reservoirs that serve the northern and central part of the community, many Fort Collins residents depend on Northern Water for their water supply.

The population of the two-county area will nearly double in the next 25 years to over 1 million people. That’s not a goal or a plan; that’s simple reading to demography. All infrastructure – roads, streets, power generation, schools, sewer systems, water systems, etc – will need to keep pace with that reality. Not doing so will adversely impact the area’s livability.

A logical question is ‘Can’t we just conserve more so we don’t have to build reservoirs?’ According to my calculations from City of Fort Collins data, per capita water usage in the city has dropped from by 23 percent from 2002 to 2013. So maybe more can be done, but it won’t be nearly enough to meet demand.

The answer to having enough water in the future, then, is to develop more supply.

The Chamber has sent a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers in support of NISP that reflects our long-held support of this project. In the end, having the ability to store more water during wet years will be absolutely essential to the health of the local economy and our quality of life.