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.
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.
Summary Map of the City of Aurora’s Prairie Waters Project
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 Consultants, Inc. staff has 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. Deere & Ault has 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.
Case No. 03CW414 includes junior storage water rights for the Lake Clare site with a capacity of 5,200 acre-feet and an underground storage right at the Lake Clare ARR site with a capacity of 920 acre-feet. These storage facilities are to be filled via existing South Platte River ditches at flow rates up to 170 cfs.
Case No. 03CW415 includes new junior storage rights from the South Platte River at Aurora Reservoir, Quincy Reservoir, and a proposed new East Reservoir. These reservoirs are to be filled via diversions off existing South Platte ditches at a maximum flow rate of 170 cfs.
Case No. 06CW104 involves an augmentation plan to allow Aurora to pump from 44 South Platte alluvial wells. The filing involves junior storage rights for Aurora’s surface gravel pit storage, Site A, of 11,000 acre-feet; an underground storage right for Aurora’s ARR-A site of 3,000 acre-feet; new ground water rights for the 44 alluvial wells with a total diversion capacity of 77.4 cfs; and appropriative rights of exchange of 247.4 cfs on the South Platte River.
Client: City of Aurora, Colorado