Aurora – Prairie Waters Project

Aurora – Prairie Waters Project


City of Aurora, Colorado

The Prairie Waters Project (PWP) is a critical element of the City of Aurora’s long-range water supply plan. The project was conceived as an effective and environmentally sensitive response to the severe drought conditions that began in 2000 and lasted several years.


Summary Map of the City of Aurora’s Prairie Waters Project.

The PWP will provide a reliable supply of water to the City utilizing fully consumable water rights owned by the City of Aurora, junior water rights appropriated from the South Platte River, and South Platte River agricultural water rights. The initial phase of the PWP to be completed by the end of the year 2010, is designed to deliver an annual water supply of 10,000 acre-feet to the City of Aurora. The full build-out of the PWP is anticipated to be completed in the year 2030 and provide an annual water supply of 46,000 acre-feet.

The PWP consists of diversion of Aurora’s South Platte water near Brighton, Colorado, to natural purification systems, referred to as Aquifer Recharge and Recovery (ARR) sites, where the movement of water through sand and gravel takes the water through a natural cleaning process. The ARR sites are sealed from the surrounding alluvial material by constructing a low permeability barrier. Water is pumped from the ARR sites to a pump station and delivered to the City of Aurora through 34 miles of a 60-inch diameter pipeline. PWP water will be treated at the proposed Aurora Reservoir Water Purification Facility.

Deere & Ault has assisted the City of Aurora on various aspects of this project. Our staff conducted the initial investigations regarding the feasibility and planning of this project. We developed a model of the Aurora Raw Water Model System that included the new water sources and components of the PWP. The model was used to predict yields from the PWP and assist in the planning of water acquisition needs, storage requirements, and sizing of water delivery components.

Deere & Ault’s staff assisted Aurora Water in the filing of water rights applications associated with the PWP including the South Platte water rights filed in Case Nos. 03CW414, 03CW415, and 06CW104. We also provided assistance in evaluating the consumptive use yield of various agricultural water rights that have been purchased as part of the project and will assist Aurora in the change of use of these shares.

Deere & Ault provided consulting services associated with the PWP facilities, including design of the low permeability barrier for ARR Sites A and B, research into the construction of Walker Reservoir and its appurtenant structures, and computation of the hydraulic capacity of the Walker Reservoir facilities.

Deere & Ault is providing engineering and litigation support to the City for their application for conditional water rights, exchange, and plan for augmentation which are all associated with the PWP in Case No. 06CW104.

Deere & Ault’s engineering services included the determination of the availability of unappropriated South Platte River surface water, groundwater, and conditional appropriative rights of exchange.

Deere & Ault’s staff developed daily water accounting forms for the PWP that will be used track daily operations including the PWP well field, ARR sites, and reservoirs.

Deere & Ault’s staff has also assisted Aurora Water and its consultants in obtaining the various permits, including numerous Substitute Water Supply Plans, necessary for construction of PWP facilities.

Client:  City of Aurora, Colorado

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