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