BY BOB SWEENEY
I went traveling with the Aurora Water Department last week for two days viewing the Homestake Reservoir. This site is up the road from Minturn toward Leadville, and south of the World War II site of Camp Hale where the famed 10th Mountain Division trained on skis to fight in Italian mountains against the Nazis.
The Homestake Reservoir is located in the Colorado River basin and holds 42,882-acre-ft. of water that is shared with Colorado Springs.
Located in a pristine valley where pure mountain water flows into the reservoir from multiple sources, this lake would make a great Coors beer commercial. The water flows to the Otero pumping station a short distance by “crow flight” east of Buena Vista. The station has an electric bill of $500,000 a month for gigantic pumps that lift the pristine water up 900 feet in elevation over the mountains to Spinney Reservoir.
The reservoir holds 53,651-acre-ft. of storage and releases water to the South Platte that eventually ends up in water taps in Aurora and Arapahoe County.
The lake is in the Spinney Mountain State Park and open for fishing and boat recreation.
The 40 on the tour trekked through South Park to the small town of Hartsel and the new Aurora water project called “Wild Horse Reservoir” which is located between two pieces of Aurora’s existing water supply infrastructure.
This original purchase of land from the Hartsel Springs Ranch occurred Oct. 19, 2016, and included 2,404 acres at a cost of just over $2 million. Aurora is in the process of purchasing more adjacent land to almost double the size of the proposed storage reservoir to be filled primarily from the Otero pumping station. The purpose of this reservoir is adding to storage capacity when drought years occur.
The dam site is perfect, no residents within miles, and only rolling plains and rock outcroppings making a perfect dam site in a desolate canyon area. A small herd of mares, colts and a magnificent stallion roam the land site and strolled by the group as we walked around the bottom of the proposed reservoir site. They weren’t wild horses but added to the pleasure of the site visit.
As we hear and read about more housing developments from Northeast Aurora across Arapahoe County and into Douglas County, there is going to be huge demands for water and every individual is estimated to use over 100 gallons per day.
Denver Water is also a huge player in moving millions of gallons of water from the mountains to the front range. Lake Dillion is part of the Denver Water empire. Transmountain diversion is a political hot potato and water is of huge importance in Colorado and the western states that share in Colorado downstream water flows.
Members of the Aurora Water tour. Courtesy photo
Newly appointed Aurora council member Johnny Watson with council member David Gruber at Binney water purification site.
Pure sparkling water of Homestake Reservoir near Camp Hale.
Marshall Brown, director of Aurora Water gives water tour presentation.
Greg Baker, Aurora Water manager of public relations explaining water basins
Tom Coker, Aurora Water advisory committee member and Dawn Jewell, water reservoir
Horses grazing at the proposed Aurora Water Wild Horse Reservoir site. Photos by Bob Sweeney
2017 All Rights Reserved. Villager Publishing |