Denver Water approves WISE partnership

Staff Report
Posted

The Denver Board of Water Commissioners approved the Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency Partnership Water Delivery Agreement Aug. 14, a necessary precursor to the implementation phase of bringing water to the south metro area.

The so-called WISE agreement formalizes the regional cooperative water project, and provides for the permanent delivery of 72,250 acre-feet of treated water from Denver Water and Aurora to water providers over 10-year periods. WISE will provide a renewable, sustainable water supply to the members of the South Metro Water Supply Authority, helping to reduce their reliance on non-renewable groundwater.

“It is exciting to consider that after five years of consistent and thoughtful meetings and negotiations, we are now ready to design and build the infrastructure necessary to start the flow of water to the south metro area,” said Eric Hecox, executive director of SMWSA.

Initiated in 2008, the WISE Partnership is a regional water supply project between Aurora Water, Denver Water and SMWSA to combine available water supplies and system capacities to create a sustainable new water supply for the metro area, a drought supply for Denver Water, and an opportunity for Aurora to fully utilize its drought-hardening Prairie Waters System.

Water will be delivered in phases, beginning in 2016. To receive the water, SMWSA members must have the necessary infrastructure to move the water from Aurora’s Binney Water Purification Facility to where it will be used. SMWSA is continuing to evaluate its options for water delivery. In addition, the permitting process to store some of the water at Rueter-Hess Reservoir must be completed.

The participating SMWSA members are the Parker Water & Sanitation District, Town of Castle Rock, Dominion Water & Sanitation District, Stonegate Village Metropolitan District, Cottonwood Water & Sanitation District, Pinery Water and Wastewater District, Centennial Water & Sanitation District, Rangeview Metropolitan District, Meridian Metropolitan District and Inverness Water & Sanitation District.

Participating members will each pay their pro rata share to purchase the water and build the infrastructure for water delivery. The cost of the water and required infrastructure for water delivery is currently estimated at $250 million over the next ten years. Each participating entity will independently determine how they will finance their share of the project.

“WISE is a very unique partnership and an example of how water solutions can be achieved on a large geographic scale when everyone is focused on the goal of achieving sustainable water solutions,” said Ron Redd, executive director of Parker Water and Sanitation and president of the south metro WISE participants.