Rueter-Hess Reservoir became a reality with a grand opening celebration at the eight-year project that Parker Water and Sanitation district hopes will be the “jewel” of Douglas County.
District manager Frank Jaeger, who led the charge to build Rueter-Hess, welcomed dignitaries at the March 21 celebration, atop the dam of the 72,000 acre-foot reservoir.
Originally planned as a 16,000 acre-foot reservoir, the project was expanded with the financial support of Castle Rock, Castle Pines and Stonegate to its present capacity in hopes of serving as a regional storage system, Jaeger said.
“We started planning for this 27 years ago when we recognized the need for a renewable source of water for Douglas County and this area,” Jaeger said. “You’re now sitting (along) what will be the jewel of Douglas County and what will be the provider for Parker and its partners. This is one step in a long journey.”
The reservoir project includes 2,000 acres of open space, contingent upon future funding, according to the district. If financing comes through for recreational use, activities could include fishing, hiking, cycling and non-motorized boating.
Completion of Rueter-Hess, which is owned and managed by the Parker Water and Sanitation District, came the same year that the district is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Rueter-Hess Reservoir is about three miles southwest of Parker and, when filled, will have a surface size of 1,140 acres, 50 percent larger than Cherry Creek Reservoir. On grand opening day, the reservoir was filled to a depth of about 57 feet, with enough water to serve 9,000 houses for one year.
Castle Rock’s utilities director Ron Redd was “excited” to see the project come to completion as Castle Rock mulls its options for a long-term water provider in hopes of helping to fill the reservoir, he said. The water in the Rueter-Hess on opening day was sufficient to serve every household in Castle Rock for six months, he said.
Redd’s department aims to finalize its report and presentation for town council as the town moves toward a final decision for a long term water provider, Redd said. The goal is to have something to present by the end of April for public review, he said.
“”I think this helps people see what we’ve been working on for so long,” Redd said. “I think people will start catching the vision of what Rueter-Hess means to this community.”