Water district reaches out

Joint efforts key to maximizing available water

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The world of water service has long been dominated by a "me first" attitude, but that's all changing.

Significant steps toward regional cooperation have been made, with the Parker Water and Sanitation District leading the charge in Douglas County. In recent years, the district offered storage opportunities in Rueter-Hess Reservoir to neighboring entities as part of a concerted effort to reduce the county's reliance on groundwater.

The latest move was signing the WISE agreement, a joint partnership that will bring an average of 10,000 acre-feet of recycled water annually from Denver and Aurora to providers in the south metro area.

The PWSD hosted three state legislators - Rep. Chris Holbert (R-District 44), Rep. Polly Lawrence (R-District 39) and Rep. Frank McNulty (R-District 43) - for a meeting Dec. 12 to discuss collaborative efforts. The meeting was also intended, in part, to "bridge the gap," said Susan Saint Vincent, director of business solutions for the district.

Because Parker Water is a medium-sized district without the clout of larger players like Denver and Aurora, officials wants to ensure it is adequately represented at the state level.

"We want to make sure they understand that when they create legislation, it creates additional costs," Saint Vincent said. "Our ratepayers feel it more because we don't have as many people to spread those costs across."

The legislators in attendance encouraged district leaders to bring their attention to any bills that might have a detrimental impact. The PWSD has two lobbyists on its payroll to help plan strategies and communicate with lawmakers. The Dec. 12 meeting comes on the heels of a fall visit from U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner (R-District 4), who toured district facilities.

The state representatives made tentative plans to meet with the PWSD again in June.

  • A separate discussion Dec. 12 focused on legislation that could potentially impact elections for special districts, Saint Vincent said. The Parker Water and Sanitation District has a board election scheduled for May.
  • District board members spoke about the future of Rueter-Hess Reservoir and the prospect of introducing recreation at the site. The PWSD made a presentation to Castle Rock in December about adding recreational amenities that could reduce expenses for existing customers.
  • PWSD officials discussed their involvement in various projects along the Cherry Creek basin that are intended to maximize the use of available water in the most cost-effective manner.

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