Why is it a good thing the Roxborough community is on surface water?
Residents of the Roxborough community are fortunate because, when it comes to water, it is a well-planned out community. The water source in Roxborough provides the highest quality available in Colorado. WHY? Location. Location. Location.
Roxborough’s water comes straight from Rocky Mountain snow-melt, rain, lakes and rivers. Our location is a distinct advantage over those communities who are currently on groundwater. We tap into our contracted share of water, right out of Strontia Springs reservoir, BEFORE the rest of the water travels out to our raw water provider, City of Aurora, to serve their customers.
Many of our neighboring water providers are on groundwater (wells). This resource was more economical back in the “day,” as the water is basically free. Today, however, a community must be geographically located in the middle of the dwindling groundwater basin, meaning, there was never enough groundwater sufficient to support this community on wells here in northwest Douglas County. Surface water, like the Roxborough community uses, is sustainable and renewable; groundwater in Douglas County is not. Once groundwater is drawn out of the ground in this area, it can take centuries (if ever) to replenish. The reason for this is groundwater here is locked within solid rock making it virtually impenetrable to new precipitation.
So the good news, for our residents is, while many other Douglas and Arapahoe County water districts now find themselves very challenged to acquire and pay for sufficient surface water rights at reasonable rates, then build the necessary infrastructure to support the raw water’s treatment, our District is already well ahead of this financial and water supply curve. An agreement with the City of Aurora (2010) has secured our community’s water permanently! And, it’s all sustainable surface water. This will translate to overall cost savings in the millions for the District’s customers over what other water providers will be incurring in the near future!
Why are water bills in the City of Denver less expensive than in Roxborough?
There are many factors to understand that impact water costs per customer. Denver Water serves 1.3 million people or roughly 450,000 customers. This is a huge number of people who share the expense of infrastructure, treatment, the cost of water, storage and its delivery. They have also been in existence since 1872, so the majority of their in-city infrastructure and senior surface water rights were developed, secured, and paid for many years ago.
Roxborough is a small and much newer community. Rates are primarily affected by economy of scale in terms of population (customers) to share water system costs and individual, actual consumption weighted in favor of those who use less than 20,000 gallons per month (which is deemed to be more than adequate for all interior household needs and maintaining a native-friendly landscape). Keep in mind, the District also provides sewer services, which Denver Water does not.
- Denver’s water supply comes from a series of reservoirs high in the Rocky Mountains, some of which were built and paid for in the previous century.
- Denver Water has the capability of producing up to 800 million gallons per day.
- Denver owes very little debt on its water system for its vast size.
What is the future drought response with respect to watering restrictions?
Since the City of Aurora is Roxborough’s raw water provider, our permanent water supply contract was negotiated at the most economical rates available today for water-efficient customers based on an average annual consumption calculation of per acre feet annually. Therefore, whatever Aurora’s drought plans are for their customers, the District must follow the same rules; no more, no less. Colorado is a semi-arid dry state with low annual precipitation, so it’s essential to be very efficient with how much water is used for outdoor irrigation purposes.
Is the permanent raw water supply cost ($26.5 million) a one-time fee paid to the City of Aurora?
Yes. This is a one-time purchase fee that secures permanent raw water to Roxborough forever.