Water Shortage Solution
As the state and northern region grows, Colorado faces a water shortage as the population grows and becomes more and more dependent upon a limited resource. Inaction could lead the communities being stranded in a dry river with only a paddle if the population does not identify new sources.
Of high importance is also the need for conserving the existing supply as possible. In tandem with other efforts, the Northern Integrated Water Supply project is key to solving Colorado’s water problem. The population of Colorado is expected to double to 10 million by 2050 and the growth rates in Fort Collins and Larimer are expected to mirror that of the state.
With Growth Comes a Need for Water
Conservation efforts in Northern Colorado are working, according to the city’s 2013 water conservation report. In an 11-year period, from 2002 to 2013, the water use per person in Fort Collins was reduced from 183 gallons per day to 141. This multi-faceted water conservation program is based on public education, incentives, assessments and enforcement, being guided by the Water Conservation Plan.
The WCP set a goal of 140 gallons per capita per day (gpcd) by 2020. The incremental target to reach this goal was 149 gpcd for 2013 and the average demand (adjusted for weather) in 2013 was 147 gpcd.
The Northern Water agency would like to build 2 reservoirs, pipelines and water pumping stations to help secure the region’s water source. Their project is estimated to cost around $500 million and has been named the Northern Integrated Supply Project, or NISP. Although the idea of this project was conceived long ago, it has long been a source of conflict.
NISP would supply customers, rural or urban, with approximately 40,000 acre-feet (or more) of new, reliable water supply each year through pumping stations, pipelines and 2 new reservoirs at Glade (which will be built northwest of Fort Collins) and Galeton, northeast of Greeley. The amount of water will be slightly larger than the Horsetooth Reservoir.
Northern Water is set to receive a long-awaited report from the Army Corps of Engineers later this year. However, the statement has been postponed at least twice and the study will probably not be released until spring 2015, according to Northern Water spokesman Brian Werner. Colorado might not have a lifetime to wait for more water, according to draft versions of the Colorado Water Plan completed this summer.
The state is on track to be short 500,000 acre-feet of water by 2050, enough to cover half a million football fields in one foot of water. The Fort Collins-Loveland Water Conservation District has already passed its water shortage date and by 2005, the district was short 1,100 acre-feet of water, an amount that could grow to 7,500 acre-feet by 2050, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.
Saving Water at Home
Considering the situation in Colorado, we could all take notes on how we could better save water in our own homes, as California is facing its worst drought in the last years. Click on the image below to read more than 200 water-saving tips!
Since the world has become more “green” aware, products offering to save water are flooding the market. WaterSense-labeled products used in your home, yard or business can help you save and protect the environment with just a few simple steps.
These products included in the EPA WaterSense Partnership program have been certified to be at least 20% more efficient without sacrificing performance. Call us at 760.734.5787 and get in touch with one of our water experts today to learn more about how you can save gallons of water in your household!