Castle Rock approves WISE agreement with Denver and Aurora water

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Castle Rock Town Council became the latest water provider to sign on to the Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency agreement, joining the WISE partnership with a unanimous vote of approval.

The partnership is made up of 10 water providers from Douglas and Arapahoe counties that are members of the South Metro Water Supply Authority. The WISE partnership has negotiated a long-term purchase agreement to buy renewable water from the cities of Denver and Aurora.

Castle Rock joined the WISE partnership on May 7 with a commitment to buy 1,000 acre-feet of water per year. The WISE partners include Castle Rock and the Parker, Centennial, Dominion and additional water and sanitation or metropolitan districts.

The WISE agreement commits the partners to purchase 70,000 acre-feet of water over a 10-year period, or an average of 7,000 acre-feet of water each year.

The Parker Water and Sanitation District on May 23 is expected to vote on the matter, said Mark Stevens, Castle Rock town manager.

“This is a historic moment for the town,” said Mark Marlowe, Castle Rock utilities director. “It is securing our long-term renewable water. Any renewable water project that brings water from outside of town is significant.”

The agreement is contingent upon the approval by the Army Corp of Engineers to revise the Rueter-Hess Reservoir permit to allow the WISE water to be stored in Rueter-Hess, said Heather Beasley, water resources manager. Added contingencies include finalization of an agreement between Denver, Aurora and Western Slope water providers to allow the cities of Denver and Aurora to sell the water to WISE.

If the contingencies are not met by the end of 2013, the agreement is terminated unless the WISE partnership agrees to extend the deadline, Beasley said.

The WISE partnership establishes a governing board made up of representatives from three of the largest participating entities and two of the smaller entities. The vote must be unanimous on decisions related to financial obligations, the sale or lease of core infrastructure, approval of any Rueter-Hess conditions, amendments to the delivery agreement and approval of the Colorado River agreement, Beasley said.

The selling water providers will set the wholesale price of water and the WISE partners will pass on the cost of delivery to their customers, Beasley said. The wholesale water costs from the WISE project are among several aspects to determine the future water and water resource parts of a customer’s water bill, according to the town of Castle Rock.

The purchase cost of the WISE water is expected to rise dramatically in 2030, the year the selling providers are no longer expected to be able to deliver water treated to reduce the amount of dissolved solids, Beasley said.

The WISE partnership, intergovernmental and delivery agreements are on the town’s website at www.crgov.com. From the home page, follow the links under “town government,” “town council” and “watch council meetings live,” and select the agenda under the May 7 council meeting. The WISE agreement is agenda item number seven.

Long-term water costs

The following chart outlines the anticipated impact to Castle Rock customers on the residential combined monthly water and water resources payment as a result of the town’s long-term water projects. The projects include WISE, the Plum Creek water purification facility, Rueter-Hess Reservoir and the purchase of additional renewable water from the Stillwater/Box Elder agreement.

Average bill, 2013: $69.91

2015: $73.48

2020: $83.29

2025: $93.83

2030: $108.89

2040: $154.15

2050: $186.33

Source: The Town of Castle Rock utilities department.

 

 

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