NewsCovering Colorado


The decision behind the 130% available water rule for annexation in Colorado Springs

Posted at 7:59 PM, Jan 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-23 21:59:45-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado Springs City Council will vote on finalizing an update to the city code requiring a 30% buffer in the water supply for a development annexation to be considered.

The current code does require surplus water for annexation to be considered but doesn’t specify the amount of water.

The new code would require that Reliably Met Demand be 130% of existing usage plus the projected demand for the annexed area.

“We talk about our Reliably Met Demand number and that is a model number that says with a certain set of risks, can we continue to meet customer demands or usage, said Colorado Springs Utilities Infrastructure and Resource Planning General Manager, Abby Ortega.

Deciding 130% was the best number to recommend to city council members was a complex process.

“It's not as clean cut as a direct formula,” said Ortega, “We do have a team of experts that do this every day that look at our whole system, and have recommended this percent.”

The team looked at historical water supply data, current demand, and they modeled for potential future needs.

They have to consider things like the current impact of the mega-drought in western states taking a toll on the water supply from the Colorado River.

Close to half of the water supply in Colorado Springs is pumped from the Colorado River Basin.

If the drought persists, the amount of water Colorado Springs is allowed to transfer could be reduced.

“Yes, we have enough water to meet the current city demands today. But as our community continues to grow, we need to develop additional supplies and build additional projects,” said Ortega.

The current amount of water supply available to Colorado Springs Utilities customers is at close to 132%.

It means there is room for some annexation for development if Colorado Spring City Council votes yes on the ordinance, but it will be limited.


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