The pledge drive, announced last August, will add 500 acre-feet of environmental storage at Chatfield Reservoir through a community coalition. Denver Water has committed nearly $2 million to fund the purchase of 250 acre-feet of storage space in Chatfield — if The Greenway Foundation can raise the funds necessary to match that amount.
The 500 acre-feet of water would be added to the 1,600 acre-feet for an environmental pool being developed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Colorado Water Conservation Board through the Chatfield Reallocation Project, for a total of 2,100 feet of storage. The environmental pool will be set aside for releases of water that will provide environmental and water quality benefits to the South Platte River below Chatfield during low-flow periods of the year when additional stream flow levels are critically needed. Key partners include the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District and Denver Water.
Releases from the environmental pool will flow through the Denver metro area, providing environmental, recreational and water quality benefits, and then be used by Central for agriculture. Every drop of water in the environmental pool will provide multiple benefits.
The project is gaining momentum as we continue to receive support from both the public and private sectors. A few months ago, the Walton Family Foundation provided $400,000 in support of the cause. If the pledge drive is successful, the foundation’s funding will purchase of 45 acre-feet of storage in the reservoir, and will also fund the creation of a management plan to maximize the releases to the South Platte River. The innovative partnerships and the EP’s multiple benefits make it a potential model for use throughout the Colorado River basin, and other basins.
Recently, the Gates Family Foundation has joined in support of the Environmental Pool, announcing their contribution of funding for 13 AF.
Local communities and individuals are also getting on board, including a commitment of 50 AF from the City and County of Denver! Arapahoe County Open Spaces Program and the cities along the South Platte River within Arapahoe County are also actively working to make a contribution to purchase 50 acre-feet to the environmental pool. The jurisdictions collaborate as members of the South Platte Working Group, which is seeking to make funding commitments by the end of this year.
Outreach and engagement efforts are also underway with numerous additional public and private entities and individuals to secure the remaining support needed to meet the Denver Water challenge. The goal is to have commitments for the full 250 acre-feet by the end of August 2017.
“The South Platte River through the Denver Metro area is affected by water quality challenges and low flow conditions frequently throughout the year” said Devon Buckels, Director of The Water Connection, the policy and water resources arm of The Greenway Foundation. “We are championing this once in a lifetime opportunity to enhance flows in the South Platte River as model of innovative water management practices because it provides multiple benefits from every drop. Increased flows support river ecosystems, reduce pollutant levels, enhance recreational opportunities for users, and ultimately supply much needed water for agriculture in neighboring communities. The Environmental Pool demonstrates the power of regional collaboration for solutions to our increasingly significant water resource challenges.”
Stay tuned for more to come!
Want more information about this project? Contact Devon Buckels at firstname.lastname@example.org