The proposed dam would destroy 10,000-year-old wetlands and encroach on the wilderness area
By Grant Stringer, Aurora Sentinel
Conservationists and development boosters alike can now weigh in on the next phase of a city government-backed plan to build a new reservoir and divert water to Aurora taps.
The White River National Forest opened a public comment period last week concerning the next phase of a would-be reservoir project dubbed the Whitney Reservoir. Water authorities in Colorado Springs and Aurora plan to divert water near the Vail Valley — normally destined for the Colorado River — to the Front Range by way of pumps and tunnels.
Greg Baker, Aurora Water’s manager of public relations, said in November the Whitney Reservoir could eventually hold between 9,000 acre-feet and 19,000 acre-feet of water.
For comparison, Cherry Creek Reservoir stores more than 134,000 acre-feet. One acre-foot of water can supply three households in Aurora for a year, Baker said.
Members of the public can now comment on a possible next phase of the project: assessing whether various points in Homestake Creek, which flows from mountain sources near Red Cliff in Eagle County, could support a dam and reservoir.
Aurora Water and its southern counterpart, Colorado Springs Utilities, applied for a Special Use Permit to do so. Geologists would conduct ground-level seismic analyses of the ground below and also drill up to 150 feet below the surface. Currently, the operation proposes ten drilling sites.