Denver Water extends Moffat EIS comment period
Vail, CO, Colorado
DENVER – Denver Water has allowed more time for public input on a project that would take more water from Summit and Grand counties in future years.
The proposed Moffat Project would expand Gross Reservoir near Boulder by as much as 72,000 acre-feet. One acre-foot is equal to 325,851 gallons of water and supplies about two single-family households for a year.
The additional water in Gross Reservoir would be diverted from the Fraser River and Williams Fork River basins in Grand County, as well as South Boulder Creek. The project would also impact water bodies in Summit County, including Dillon Reservoir and the Blue River.
“In the lead alternative, they’ll remove 4,800 acre feet of water from the Blue,” said Steve Swanson, executive director of the nonprofit Blue River Watershed Group. “Some people say that’s not a lot of water. But for the Blue River, especially during a dry season, it’s a lot of water, and it can translate to a lot of different impacts.”
Even during wet months, water diversions can have negative impacts on river basins. High flows create a flushing effect that removes sediment that builds up in the river bed, and such flushing is critical for fish populations. Furthermore, rafting along the Blue River depends on early-season high flows.
“The less water you have, the more it’s going to affect the health of the stream area and wetlands,” Swanson said.
Denver Water says it will experience a shortfall in its supply of 34,000 acre-feet per year by 2030. The agency says it will address 16,000 acre-feet of the shortfall through water conservation measures, leaving an annual shortage of 18,000 acre-feet.
Denver Water and the Army Corps of Engineers have extended the public comment period on the project until March 17.
The Blue River Watershed Group will hold a public forum on the proposal in advance of the comment deadline. Water experts and representatives from local agencies and nonprofit organizations will discuss the project and its impacts for members of the public interested in learning more and weighing in on the proposal. The forum will take place at 6 p.m., March 4 at the Summit County Community and Senior Center near the County Commons.
Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-4630 or email@example.com.
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