As winter draws to a close and hot summer days emerge on the horizon, Coloradans typically begin to think more about water. How much snowpack do we have? Is it enough to meet all our water needs until the next snow season? Do we have enough water in general? What can we do to make sure we do?
These are questions on the minds of many in the South Denver Metro region – and for good reason. After all, water is what makes our outstanding quality of life possible. If we want our children and grandchildren to enjoy our communities as we do, we must ensure they have access to a secure and sustainable water supply that meets their needs.
From conversations throughout the region, we know residents are aware the region has historically relied too heavily on declining groundwater supplies and must diversify its supply for long-term sustainability. We know that residents view water as a top priority for the region and support an all-of-the-above approach that includes conservation and reuse, storage and new renewable supplies.
We also know South Metro residents value partnership among leaders throughout the region to get the job done in the most economically responsible manner.
The good news is our region has a plan that will ensure a secure water future for generations to come. This plan is based on three strong pillars:
- Conservation – The South Metro area is a leader in the state when it comes to conservation, reducing water demand by more than 30 percent since 2000. We have the only rainwater harvesting pilot study in the state, all members have a conservation plan, and we reuse our water supplies to the maximum extent possible.
- Partnership — We are partnering within the South Metro area and with water providers throughout the region and state to bring more sustainable and efficient water sources to our communities. This includes sharing infrastructure, water supplies and costs to deliver the water our region needs.
- Investment — South Metro Water and our members are investing in new water infrastructure and renewable water supplies that put the region on the path to a more sustainable and secure water future. Examples include the WISE (Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency) Project, the reallocation of Chatfield Reservoir, the development of the Rueter-Hess Reservoir and the ECCU/ACWWA Northern Project, all of which will increase the region’s available water supply.
The 13 members that comprise the South Metro Water Supply Authority provide water to 80 percent of Douglas County and 10 percent of Arapahoe County. Together, they are partnering among each other as well as with local government leadership and water entities across the region and state to execute their plan to secure a sustainable water future for the region.
Is our water future really secure? No, not yet. But we’re well on our way to getting there and with the continued support of our communities, our progress will carry on and our children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy this wonderful region to live and work.
To learn more, visit the South Metro Water Supply Authority website at http://southmetrowater.org/
About the author:
Eric Hecox is the director of the South Metro Water Supply Authority, a regional water authority comprised of 13 water provider members that collectively serve more than 300,000 residents as well as businesses in the South Metro Denver area. South Metro Water’s membership spans much of Douglas County and parts of Arapahoe County, including Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, Parker and Castle Pines.