Environmental Protection

Colo. Water Needs May be Met by Reuse

Updated projections from the South Metro Water Supply Authority in Greenwood, Colo., identify a need for an additional 75,000 to 148,000 acre-feet per year of renewable raw water supplies to meet its needs through approximately 2060. The additional water would augment existing supplies to serve projected demands and dramatically increase the renewable and sustainable component of the area's water supply.

The new projections estimate water supply needs according to a number of variables, including potential changes in supply and demand associated with climate trends, development patterns, service areas, and water reuse.CDM, a consulting, engineering, construction and operations firm, developed the 2007 Regional Water Master Plan and the updated projections for SMWSA.

"We feel it is our role as responsible water planners to anticipate factors that could affect supply and demand so we can develop adequate renewable water sources to serve our communities into the future," said Rod Kuharich, executive director of the authority.

The 2007 Master Plan, approved by the authority's board of directors in June, expands the role of renewable water supplies to reduce dependency on deep groundwater and meet future demands in Denver's south metro area. The first phases of the Master Plan are now being implemented to work toward meeting the area's long-term needs for sustainable water supplies.

The 2060 projections build on the master plan, and include the following considerations:

• Use of local renewable water supplies and expanded water reuse;

•Preservation of deep groundwater primarily as a backup supply for drought years;

• Potential effects of climate change, including increases in demand and reductions in surface water supply availability;

•Changes in the state's administration of surface water supplies that may affect supply availability; and

• Potential water needs for south metro areas that are not now in the authority's service area but will have a need for renewable water supplies.

The ability to reuse water in Colorado depends on the source of the water.Assuming the new supplies would be fully reusable, the authority anticipates needing between 75,000 and 99,000 acre feet per year of water in addition to existing supplies. If the new sources were not reusable, the amount of additional new supply required could be as high as 148,000 acre feet per year.

"This information demonstrates the importance of SMWSA's mission, to source cost-effective, renewable water supplies on an ongoing basis," said Kuharich. "Water conservation, reuse, and efficiency will be important components in meeting future water needs, but these strategies will not fully meet our future demand, nor will they result in adding renewable water sources." We expect to continue the strategies for water supply that were outlined in our 2007 Master Plan, including partnering on major water supply and infrastructure investments."

South Metro Water Supply Authority is the south-metro region's leader in water supply planning, treatment and distribution.Formed in August 2004, SMWSA is an experienced and knowledgeable regional water entity that plans, develops and sources renewable water for Douglas and Arapahoe counties in Colorado.

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