Water pipeline’s fate set to wait

Larimer County decision on Thornton’s pipeline expected July 23

Posted 7/17/18

The fate of Thornton’s water pipeline from a Cache La Poudre reservoir will wait an another few days for a decision from Larimer County Commissioners. Commissioners tabled testimony and a final …

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Water pipeline’s fate set to wait

Larimer County decision on Thornton’s pipeline expected July 23

Posted

The fate of Thornton’s water pipeline from a Cache La Poudre reservoir will wait an another few days for a decision from Larimer County Commissioners.

Commissioners tabled testimony and a final decision July 9 on the Thornton’s plan to build the 70 mile pipeline until their July 23 meeting.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in county offices, 200 West Oak in Fort Collins. Thornton residents that want to listen to the hearing can log in at www.larimer.org/broadcast on the county’s web page.

The July 9 meeting featured hours of testimony both from Thornton officials and opponents of the plan.

Thornton Water Supply Director Mark Koleber said Thornton officials will get the chance to rebut some of the criticisms of plans at that July 23 meeting.

“There’s a lot of information that came out during the public comment period that we really need to rebut,” Kolber said. “That’s what we’re focusing on now, just making sure that we can address what the commissioners need to hear so they have the right information they need to make their decision.”

If commissioners approve, it would put Thornton one step closer to bolstering the city’s water supply through 2065.

Thornton began working on the plan in 2016, filing a request for a permit to allow the city to build a pipeline, bringing the water south from Larimer County to Thornton.

The water in question has been diverted from the Cache La Poudre River since the 1800s. The city bought water right shares from Water Supply and Storage Company in the mid-1980s but has left the water there.

Thornton’s proposed 48-inch pipeline would run for 26 miles through Larimer County and 45 miles in Weld County and would transport 40 million gallons of water per day. Beginning near the intersection of State Road 1 and Larimer County’s Douglas Road, the pipeline would follow Douglas Road east to about Colorado Boulevard, Larimer County’s boundary with Weld County.

From there, it would continue South, leaving Larimer County near Johnstown and continuing south to Thornton. The city also plans to build a pump station near the reservoir and water tank capable of holding one million gallons. The total cost is estimated at $435 million.

A new water supply is needed to provide for predicted growth up to 242,0000 residents by 2065, according to the executive summary for a permit request submitted by the city of the Thornton to Larimer County to build the water pipeline.

The plan is being opposed by two Larimer County groups. One, No Pipe Dream, is made up mostly of Douglas Road neighbors who don’t want Thornton’s project to dig up their streets. The second is Save the Poudre, who object to the water being diverted away from the river.

River not cheaper

Koleber said one comment from the July 9 meeting the city needs to counter is that it would be cheaper for Thornton to build a smaller pipeline downstream along the Cache La Poudre River.

“A shorter pipeline would be less expensive, but it doesn’t show the problems associated with taking the water down the river,” Koleber said.

The city would need to build a new reservoir and spend more on treatment if it put the water in the river.

“We’d have to replace storage, we’d increase treatment and we’d have to purchase more water because we’d lose so much in the river,” he said. “And that’s not to mention the risk we’d be putting Thornton’ residents by having a water supply below a metropolitan area. So there are a number of things.”

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