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Publish Date: 10/23/2005

New reservoir gets OK


BERTHOUD — Two water districts that serve areas of Larimer, Weld and Boulder counties have gotten the go-ahead to build a reservoir just southeast of Carter Lake.

The state engineer’s office has approved the Little Thompson and Central Weld water districts’ proposed Dry Creek Reservoir.

Hank Whittet, the Little Thompson Water District’s manager, said the 8,800-acre-foot reservoir is needed as a storage site for the two water districts, which own and operate the Carter Lake Filter Plant.

“We have no on-site storage for raw water,” he explained. “We take it directly from Carter Lake.”

Whittet said the reservoir will provide insurance if a head gate at Carter Lake breaks. During repairs, water delivery out of the lake would stop.

District officials expect to complete the $21 million project by next fall. The 258-acre reservoir, financed with a loan from the Colorado Water Conservation Board, will store Colorado Big-Thompson Project water.

In addition to the state approval, Larimer County planners also reviewed the project.

Rob Helmick, a Larimer County planner, said some of the neighboring residents were concerned with the reservoir’s potential impacts.

Most of the complaints centered on fears that the reservoir could disturb residents’ view and that a future enlargement could result in the purchase or condemnation of surrounding property.

Helmick said planners included provisions that project managers coordinate construction traffic with the homeowners.

In the meantime, Little Thompson water users may be seeing an 8 percent to 10 percent fee increase next year, Whittet said.

The rate hike would help pay for reservoir financing, upgrades at the filter plant and the higher cost of doing business.

The water district covers 300 square miles, including southern Larimer and Weld counties and northern Boulder County. While the Little Thompson district has experienced average growth, its eastern counterpart, the Central Weld Water District, is rapidly growing, Whittet said.

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