WISE Authority buys existing pipeline

$34 million price split between 10 members

Posted 10/28/14

One of the last major pieces of infrastructure for the WISE Water Agreement is now in place.

On Oct. 21, members of the South Metro Water Supply Authority and Denver Water purchased the East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District's …

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WISE Authority buys existing pipeline

$34 million price split between 10 members

Posted

One of the last major pieces of infrastructure for the WISE Water Agreement is now in place.

On Oct. 21, members of the South Metro Water Supply Authority and Denver Water purchased the East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District's Western Waterline.

The pipeline purchase is a significant milestone in WISE, a partnership between 10 south-metro members, Denver Water and Aurora Water to share water supply and infrastructure.

The South Metro WISE Authority is made up of 10 water providers that are all part of the larger South Metro Water Supply Authority. Nine of those water providers — Centennial, Cottonwood, Dominion, Inverness, Meridian, Parker, Pinery, Stonegate Village and Castle Rock—are located in Douglas County. The 10th, Rangeview Metropolitan District, is located in Aurora.

The purchase price was $34 million, with the 10 south-metro WISE participants paying 85 percent or $29,275,000, and Denver Water paying 15 percent or $4,725,000.

Using Aurora's Prairie Waters system, Aurora Water and Denver Water will provide water through the Western Waterline to participating south-metro members on a permanent basis. WISE will also provide a new emergency supply for Denver Water, and offset costs and stabilize water rates for Aurora.

“This is pretty much the last big piece of the puzzle,” said Executive Director of the South Metro Water Supply Authority, Eric Hecox. “With the purchase of the pipeline, we can begin to build the infrastructure that will bring water to all of the South Metro members.”

The 20-mile east-west pipeline along E-470 and C-470 has capacity to deliver 38 million gallons of water a day to Douglas and Arapahoe counties.

“Our sale of this pipeline is mutually beneficial for all the parties involved,” the president of the ECCV board, O. Karl Kasch, said in a statement. “Under the purchase and sale agreement, ECCV will still have the capacity we need in the pipeline, while also supporting a regional solution to one of the most important water challenges facing the Denver metro region. We have always viewed the Western Waterline as an infrastructure asset from which the entire South Metro community can benefit, and that's what will be accomplished.”

Under the agreement, Denver Water and Aurora Water will sell an average of 7,250 acre-feet of water a year to south-metro water suppliers beginning in 2016, with the option to increase to 10,000 acre-feet in future years.

The WISE project began in 2008 as a way for members to identify processes, costs, distribution, timing, storage and legal issues relating to distributing treated reusable water return flows from Denver and Aurora for use by SMWSA water users.

The group tasked with utilizing this water is the South Metro WISE Authority. The primary purpose of the authority is to reduce members' dependence on nonrenewable Denver Basin wells and provide a reliable, long-term water supply for residents.

The WISE members are funding the new infrastructure that will move the water from Aurora's Binney Water Purification Facility to its end locations, beginning in 2016. Water purchased by Douglas County entities, as well as by some of the other providers, will be stored at the Rueter-Hess Reservoir south of Parker.

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