Apr 182004
Authors: Danielle Rubio

The issue of water availability has been one that water

providers in northern Colorado are dealing with at varying


From new storage facilities to changing the way individuals and

businesses use water, these providers are attempting to find ways

to ensure future provisions for their recipients.

“We’re in a bit of a dry spell,” said Web Jones, the general

manager for the East Larimer County Water District. “It would be

foolish to think it will end soon.”

The Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District has one

solution: the Northern Integrated Supply Project. The purpose of

the NCWCD is to provide water for agricultural, municipal, domestic

and industrial uses in northeastern Colorado, according to the


“We have a timetable to work with to get these people water and

time is short,” said Nicole Seltzer, the NISP public liaison.

The NISP entails two projects: building the new Glade Reservoir

and the South Platte Water Conservation Project. Glade Reservoir

would be built where Highway 14 meets Highway 287 and would house

water from the Poudre River, carried by the Poudre Valley Canal

diversion structure, Seltzer said.

The South Platte Water Conservation Project would involve

building a smaller reservoir, called Galeton, near Greeley. Water

for the reservoir would be taken from the South Platte River.

If the project moves forward and all goes as planned, the

outcome will be 30,000 acre-feet of new water for the 13 water

providers in northeast Colorado, including the ELCWD and the Fort

Collins Loveland Water District.

NCWCD estimates that the demands of the 13 providers in

collaboration with it will be far greater than what can be supplied

in the years to come if something is not done soon.

The project is currently awaiting an Environmental Impact

Statement from the Core of Engineers, which would give NCWCD the

permit to start construction. To get a permit, the project’s

benefits have to outweigh its costs.

Brad Clark, professor of U.S. Environmental Policy, Current

World Problems and an introduction seminar for American Government

and Politics, does not think so. He thinks the problem is in how

much water is consumed.

“Focusing on providing more water will not solve the problem; it

will not change peoples’ consumption patterns,” Clark said.

According to Clark, the water the NCWCD says is in demand is

based on current consumption patterns. If people changed their

habits, there would not be such a high demand for water.

Jones agreed that Coloradans could be more water-wise,

particularly in the area of landscaping.

“We need to be more careful about what we install,” Jones said.

“What we do indoors is not as big of an impact as what we do


Another challenge facing the project is the effects it may have

on the environment. Associated with the Glade project is the loss

of a flower habitat known as Bell’s Twin pod, Seltzer said. Among

other concerns is the effect the South Platte Water Conservation

Project will have on listed endangered species, such as the

whooping crane, according to project manager, Carl Brouwer.

If a permit is granted, the estimated completion of the Glade

Complex is 2012 and for the South Platte Water Conservation Project

it is 2017, according to NCWCD.

For more information on the project, go to


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