Castle Rock reviews long-term water plan

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Castle Rock Town Council got a year-end update on its long-term water negotiations, with a promise to advance some major deal points in the first quarter of 2013.

During one of their last meetings of 2012, councilmembers had their final public meeting with former utilities director Ron Redd, with word that Redd's efforts of the last year could begin to take shape in 2013.

Those efforts are designed to help Castle Rock wean itself from its underground water sources and, within the next 20 years, transition to a 75 percent renewable source.

The proposed solutions include a series of 11 wells in Adams County's Box Elder Farm, projected to provide up to 3,000 acre-feet of water, and the Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency regional partnership, projected to provide up to 1,000 acre-feet of water for Castle Rock residents.

Among the first steps in the negotiations will be to come to an agreement with Stillwater Resources, the water broker selected by council to represent the town in the Box Elder purchase, said Heather Beasley, water resources engineer.

Once that agreement is in place, Stillwater can begin discussing the terms of a potential agreement to purchase some or all of the water rights at Box Elder Farm, which formerly provided the water for a tree farm.

“Right now we're going through due diligence with Stillwater helping us assess the value of those resources,” Beaseley said.

The WISE agreement, which involves the participation of 11 water providers in an effort to purchase return flows from Denver and Aurora, remains in draft form as the partnership works out a number of issues, Redd said.

Among the issues are agreeing on a reasonable solution to set long-term water rates; how to address impacts from climate changes; purchasing the pipelines to move the water from Aurora to Rueter-Hess reservoir; meeting the demands of the Army Corp of Engineers for permission to store the water in Rueter-Hess; and awaiting final approval from eight Western Slope entities to permit Denver and Aurora to sell the water to the WISE partners.

Councilmembers can expect staff presentations within the first three to six months of 2013 for terms of the agreements necessary to secure a long-term water supply, Redd said.

“We just wanted to provide an update on the Stillwater proposal and the WISE proposal,” Redd said. “There's no action tonight.”

More information

Next steps in Castle Rock's water acquisition:

• WISE water delivery agreement with Denver and Aurora.

• WISE participation agreement among 11 South Metro water providers.

• WISE transmission pipeline agreement.

• Stillwater Resources brokerage agreement to represent Castle Rock in Box Elder Farms negotiations

• Box Elder Farms purchase and sale agreement.

• Various augmentation supply purchase term sheets or agreements.

Source: The town of Castle Rock utilities department.

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