COLORADO SPRINGS – It is a complex and ambitious process getting run-off water from Colorado’s mountains to the Front Range. It is a large part of what water users in Colorado pay for on their water bill.
The water for Colorado Springs Utilities customers starts close to 100 miles west of the city. Snow at the Continental Divide melts into near-by reservoirs. That water is then pumped to reservoirs at the edge of the city. “Right now we’re pumping 115 million gallons per day. That translates to about five million per hour, 24/7,” said Homestake Water Project, Superintendent, Tom Hankins. That is enough water to fill 175 Olympic size swimming pools in a day.
A line-up of pumps, each more than two stories high, are kept going by a team of ten who work for the utility company. They also do the work on waterways and pipes that move the water. “Typically, most people don’t have a clue where this water comes from,” said Water Mechanic Specialist, Josh Propernick.
Keeping the water moving takes a lot of power that comes at a large cost. “We’re pumping at over 12 megawatts of electricity per hour and so that translates to about $520 thousand a month electric bill,” said Hankins. The half million dollar bill is buffered by one side of utilities giving a discount to another entity of the operation.