If you want to join in celebrating a dramatic spike in your water rates, here's an event for you.
Actually, the celebration on Friday from 9:30 to 11 a.m. is to herald construction of the Southern Delivery System water pipeline from Pueblo Reservoir. Although construction has been underway for nearly a year on parts of the pipeline, Colorado Springs Utilities has organized an event to kick off what's called "major construction."
The pipeline, at a cost of $880 million, or $2.3 billion if financing costs are included, is bringing annual 12 percent water rate increases through 2016. City-owned Utilities hasn't said what kind of rate increases to expect after that.
In any event, given the difficulty in obtaining environmental approvals and securing water rights in these water-tight times, SDS might be the last major water project built in Colorado for years to come. The pipeline, Utilities officials say, will ultimately deliver 96 million gallons per day to partners Colorado Springs, Pueblo West, Fountain, and Security.
The first phase, which will include a 60-mile pipeline, several pump stations and a treatment plant, is expected to create an annual average of 786 regional jobs and result in $127.6 million in earnings to El Paso County residents and $35.5 million to Pueblo County residents, the city said in a press release. The first phase is to be finished by 2016. The second phase would include a storage reservoir and an exchange reservoir and expanded pumping and treatment capacity.
Here's who will be speaking:
· Mayor Steve Bach, City of Colorado Springs
· Mayor Jeri Howells, City of Fountain
· Scott Hente, President, Colorado Springs City Council
· Lionel Rivera, Former Mayor, City of Colorado Springs
· John Cordova, Chair, Pueblo County Board of Commissioners
· Jerry Martin, President, Pueblo West Metropolitan District
· Jerry Forte, CEO, Colorado Springs Utilities
· Roy Heald, General Manager, Security Water District
· Gary Bostrom, Chief Water Services Officer, Colorado Springs Utilities
· John Fredell, SDS Program Director, Colorado Springs Utilities
· Gary Campbell, Deputy Regional Director, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Children from the four partner communities also will participate in the event by contributing to a time-capsule for the project and a special conclusion to the ceremony.
Here's how to get there:
Take I‐25 south to Pueblo / Turn west on U.S. Hwy 50 (Exit 101)
Drive 3 miles to Pueblo Blvd — turn south (left) on Pueblo Blvd and drive 4 miles to Thatcher Blvd (Hwy
Turn west (right) on Thatcher (Hwy 96) and go to the first Lake Pueblo State Park entrance on the right.
Turn right on Pueblo Reservoir Access Road — continue on to Pueblo Reservoir Road and then to Juniper
Turn into parking area across from dam — before the gated entrance to the park (see map) — follow