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Northern Water E-Waternews March 2019
Northern Water
Northern Water unveils WaterSecure program for NISP

The recent purchase of a Weld County farm marks a new venture for Northern Water and
Northern Integrated Supply Project participants -- one that's part of the ongoing, collaborative
effort to secure future water supplies for both the region's communities and its vital
agricultural industry.

On Jan. 31, Northern Water and the NISP participants purchased a 28-acre farm northeast of
Greeley and the property's water rights. The farm was purchased through the NISP WaterSecure program, a cooperative effort to maintain the exchange of water for NISP while keeping
water on participating farms. This investment is a shift from the "buy-and-dry" approach that
has stressed the region's agricultural communities.

This innovative program is part of NISP, which will eventually provide water to approximately 500,000 residents in Northern Colorado while preserving thousands of acres of irrigated farmland. WaterSecure is part of a strategic, long-term effort to better plan for future growth and to consistently apply Colorado Water Plan principles to protect water for our communities, farms and the environment. Without innovative approaches such as WaterSecure, the region is on pace to see hundreds of thousands of irrigated acres dried up by mid-century.

"This is an outside-the-box, 'buy-and-supply' approach we're taking to address the tightening
water supplies facing Northern Colorado and its future generations," said Northern Water
General Manager Brad Wind.

After ensuring the water remains associated with the property, Northern Water will look to sell the parcels it buys back to private ownership. In other instances, NISP participants will work to secure water to farms through agreements with property owners instead of purchasing property.

Recent storms drape Northern Water collection system in snow

A parade of snowstorms across Colorado has improved the water outlook for the Colorado-Big Thompson Project's West Slope Collection System, as well as providing much-needed relief to the soil moisture profile of the cities and farms served by the project.

On March 13, a storm system dubbed the "bomb cyclone," because of its steep barometric pressure gradient, struck Colorado, prompting closures throughout the region. In northeast Colorado, the initial rain from the storm helped to provide moisture to a region designated as abnormally dry by the U.S. Drought Monitor. The ensuing wind and snow prompted the early closure of Northern Water offices on March 13 and cancellation of the March 14 meeting of the Northern Water and Municipal Subdistrict boards of directors.

In the mountains, the storm system added to existing snowpack to bring all river drainages in the state to far above-average totals for this time of year. Statewide snowpack levels increased 11 percentage points, from 132 percent to 143 percent of average, as a result of the storm.

Northern Water engineers monitor the snowpack totals and remote sensors to produce streamflow forecasts for the C-BT and Windy Gap collection systems.

Chimney Hollow finalizes design and begins construction procurement

Project managers for the Windy Gap Firming Project have announced the next step in the design and pre-construction process for Chimney Hollow Reservoir.

In February, managers published a new procurement schedule that outlines the contracting approach to be taken in the construction of the new reservoir west of Berthoud. As part of the schedule, project managers have recently released a Request for Qualifications and anticipate submissions to the Municipal Subdistrict this spring.

The advances come after a positive review of reservoir design documents by the Chimney Hollow Project Review Board, an external team of engineering experts tasked with evaluating the project's specifications and dam design.

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