Platte Valley Water Partnership
The Platte Valley Water Partnership (PVWP) is an innovative, long-term water supply solution that will benefit both agricultural and municipal communities in the South Platte River Basin. After over a decade of working together, the PVWP was formally launched in 2021 between the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District (LSPWCD) and Parker Water & Sanitation District (PWSD) to store available South Platte River water.
The partnership’s unique approach will provide both farms and cities with much-needed water. The project will use new and existing infrastructure to capture and store renewable South Platte River water flowing mostly in the spring and during storm events. This is water that currently leaves Colorado in quantities that exceed interstate compact agreements.
- Why are we doing this?
The partners see this as a unique opportunity to optimize existing and future water resources, using newly constructed shared infrastructure, to set a precedent for a mutually-beneficial relationship between agricultural and Front Range water communities in Colorado.
PWSD’s current water resources are sufficient to meet existing demands, but with a population that’s projected to double by build-out, and with the Denver Basin groundwater supplies diminishing over time, PWSD’s ultimate goal is to diversify its water resources portfolio to be comprised of at least 75% renewable water.
With the construction of a shared project infrastructure, LSPWCD will be able to capture, store, and use its water resources more effectively for irrigation purposes. These improvements will help to optimize operations necessary to meet their members’ needs.
- What's involved?
In order to accomplish its goals, the PVWP intends to build new infrastructure and make use of existing infrastructure owned by project partners.
Key new infrastructure will include:
- A Small Storage Reservoir near Illiff (up to 6,500 acre-feet)
- A PVWP Forebay Reservoir
- A 125-Mile Pipeline and infrastructure for transport to Rueter-Hess Reservoir and delivery within LSPWCD
- A Large Storage Reservoir near Akron (up to 72,000 acre-feet)
- Who benefits from this project?
Our goal is to protect and work with the communities and individual business and land owners who will be affected by this project.
The project will benefit various groups in multiple ways:
The PVWP protects agriculture by not allowing new ‘buy and dry’ water through its infrastructure and will provide much-needed water to northeast Colorado agriculture. The project will benefit water users in the LSPWCD.
During typical conditions, the intent is for PWSD's tenant farmers to make use of existing senior water rights for irrigation purposes and continue the farming operations.
While current water resources are sufficient for existing PWSD customers’ needs, the population it serves is projected to double by 2040, and groundwater supplies are diminishing over time. PWSD’s goal is to build a water resource portfolio that is at least 75% renewable. The PVWP would allow PWSD access to more than 20,000 acre-feet of reliable, renewable water annually.
Regionally, there will be short-term, economic benefits from construction activity and long-term benefits through the development of a new water supply that addresses local shortages and increased recreational opportunities at the two new reservoirs.
The project provides new off-channel storage and will enhance wildlife habitat through the creation of new reservoirs.
- How much is this going to cost?
We estimate a cost of approximately $880 million for the entire Platte Valley Water Partnership project.
$560 million has been built into PWSD’s long-term planning and rate structure and would be adequate to complete the first phase. We are currently in discussions with additional entities who may be interested in participating in some portion, or all, of the project.
- What's happening now?
Currently we are in the middle of the following activities related to the PVWP:
- The purchase of our first piece of PVWP-related property was finalized in early November 2023. The property, which is located in Morgan County, will be used as a forebay (small reservoir) needed for the project.
- Continuing discussions with multiple third-party project partners. We expect to finalize some of these by the end of 2023.
- We have contracted with an engineering firm to complete geotechnical services to investigate key geological conditions that may impact the site of a future reservoir, and to then develop a concept for constructing a safe and reliable dam on the site.
- Continuing to work with the Water Court on our 2019 water rights application. An August 2025 court date has been set for the court to adjudicate the junior water rights.