It’s been 20 years in the making.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has issued a federal Clean Water Act Section 404 Record of Decision for the Northern Integrated Supply Project to be operated by Northern Water.
The Project has already received state and local approvals. It includes Glade Reservoir, Galeton Reservoir, and associated project infrastructure to deliver high-quality water to more than 250,000 Northeastern Colorado residents. Participants include the Town of Erie, Town of Windsor, City of Fort Morgan, Town of Frederick, City of Evans, City of Fort Lupton, Town of Eaton, Town of Severance, City of Lafayette, Town of Firestone, and City of Dacono, as well as the Fort Collins-Loveland Water District, Left Hand Water District, Central Weld County Water District, and the Morgan County Quality Water District.
Northern Water describes the approval as “a major milestone” for the Project. According to its website, Northern Water writes that it will:
- Create two new water storage reservoirs that will provide substantial public outdoor recreation opportunities;
- Relocate and bring up to modern safety standards approximately seven miles of U.S. Highway 287 northwest of Fort Collins;
- Complete various ditch and canal improvements throughout the system to increase reliability and reduce waste; and
- Bury large, safe, resilient pipelines to enable cooperative water exchanges and delivery to cities, towns and water districts that provide water to 500,000 people today,
In addition to securing water supplies, the Project will create recreational opportunities and provide environmental and wildlife stewardship.
The Colorado Sun reports that the Project will cost $2 billion, adding, “Environmental groups and some local officials have fought the Northern Integrated Supply Project for decades, saying it would drain more of the Poudre River at key times and represents old, discredited thinking about bringing water to growing Front Range communities. Northern Water, meanwhile, has fought in multiple courts and local government agencies to deliver the 40,000 acre-foot of water rights to dozens of towns and water agencies.”