With a suit about buying shares of water settled, some $2.8 million worth of water rights should flow Brighton’s way sometime this summer.
City Councilors voted to accept a settlement agreement with the Castle Pines North Metropolitan District at a special meeting on April 12. City Attorney Alica Calderon said the agreement means that the city will own about 50 shares of water from the Fulton Ditch group.
“This is water for the city to use in the future,” Calderon said. “It depends on how quickly the paperwork and the sale gets settled if it will have an impact on our water supplies this summer, but it certainly will have an impact in the future and for years to come.”
Brighton filed a suit against the Castle Pines North Metro District in November that challenged the metro district’s sale of water rights to Aurora. Brighton challenged the sealed bid process the metro district used, highlighting the “improper” way Aurora offered an additional $1 million if it won the ability to buy four water right options that were being sold.
Brighton claims that its bid for the water rights to the Fulton Ditch Share Group and to the Lupton Bottom Share Group were the highest bids submitted.
Calderon said that Brighton bid on Fulton Shares and bid $5,834,500 for 105 shares. Based on the April 12 resolution, Brighton will be able to buy 50 shares. That is approximately $55,566.67 per share and about $2,778,335 in total.
“A water share is a right to draw a certain amount of water, but what it gets translated when it gets converted into municipal use is much more complicated,” Calderon said. “There is no easy way to quantify that, but in the water court process it can be quantified down to individual droplets.”
It comes as the city is trying to bridge the municipal supply for the next two years, when a new Brighton water plant is due to come online. Water customers could face summer restrictions or higher rates until it’s ready, for the summers of 2022 and 2023.
The city has already started converting some athletic fields from turf to artificial turf and is aggressively looking to build a non-potable system so the city can water its fields and parks with untreated water and is working on a voluntary campaign to get Brighton residents to reduce their water consumption, especially during hot summer days.