New reservoirs on the menu in Colorado?


A feasibility report published last week by the South Platte Regional Opportunities Water Group (“SPROWG”) recommends significant new storage and water transfer infrastructure for the South Platte River Basin, Colorado.

The South Platte River Basin hosts the major cities of Colorado and about 70% of the state’s population. That population is expected to grow from 3.8 to 6 million people by 2050. The new water infrastructure aims at providing additional safe yield of 50,000 af/year for municipal and industrial uses. Four possible portfolios are outlined, costing between $2billion and $5billion in lifecycle costs (capital + operational) (table 17 in the report has the best information).

It’s hard getting planning permission for big construction projects, especially reservoirs. Folks interested in water resources planning will want to follow this one closely as the environmental and conservation groups mobilize in opposition. Quoted in the Times-Call, Gary Wockner (director of Save the Colorado) said:

A multi-billion-dollar scheme to further drain and destroy the already degraded South Platte River will certainly inspire spirited opposition throughout the permitting process — I can almost guarantee it.