Acquisition of Terry Ranch Aquifer Will Not Reduce Our Water Bills

Someone commented on Nextdoor that they hoped that the acquisition of Terry Ranch would bring down their water bills. Here is why I think that won’t happen.

#1 Terry Ranch water is much more contaminated than Poudre River Water. The more contaminants, the higher the cost of treatment.

#2 The infrastructure for moving water from Terry Ranch to Greeley is not yet built. That costs lots of money. Nobody is going to pay that bill for Greeley. The Poudre River infrastructure is in place and has been upgraded. The Bellvue Water Treatment Plant has been enlarged and the 60” Bellvue pipeline that was meant to bring the increased water flow from an enlarged Milton Seaman Reservoir is just about complete.

#3 The main threats to our Poudre River water supply are contamination from spills and forest fires. Greeley’s water supply is so robust that any water contaminated in such a way can be bypassed down the river until the natural cleansing of the river takes place in 1-2 years. In the meantime, water can be taken from Horsetooth Reservoir through the Pleasant Valley Pipeline to the Bellvue Treatment Plant.

 #4 If Terry Ranch water becomes more contaminated than it already is, from past oil and gas wells that have been capped, or from the new wells that are on the books to be drilled in the future, or from several other possible contaminants that have been identified by engineers, the price of treatment will go way up, if it is possible at all.

Greeley has an abundance of water rights and water storage. In comparison, the population of Loveland is about 77,000. Loveland has 6,835 acre feet of water storage. Fort Collins at population of 174,000 has about 10,000 acre feet of storage. Greeley, at a population of about 110,000 has about 70,000 acre feet of storage. Greeley has ample water rights and storage to keep us developing for the next 20 years without Terry Ranch.

In that 20 years a US Corps of Engineers permit could be obtained to enlarge Milton Seaman Reservoir. We could keep our clean mountain water, keep our water bills reasonable and not have to worry about a huge investment in Terry Ranch that could easily be lost.

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