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Water supply at risk of going dry within months in southern Colorado town

Colorado City continues to lose water as its population grows, infrastructure ages and climate dries
Colorado City losing water
Posted at 6:42 PM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 09:01:29-04

COLORADO CITY — As Colorado continues to grow at record pace, the growing pains that come with that aren’t mixing well with the state’s severe drought conditions.

Because of that, the Pueblo County town of Colorado City is at risk of having its water supply go dry within months.

Compared to big cities, not too many people call Colorado City home.

“We have about 3,500 to 4,000,” Colorado City Metropolitan District Manager James Eccher said.

But like the rest of Colorado, it’s growing.

“We put in probably 15 houses this year,” Eccher said.

That’s a lot for a town the size of Colorado City, and Eccher says the growth comes with a cost.

“Our infrastructure hasn’t been improved for 50, 60 years. And now you’re putting a strain on it,” he said.

A big cost.

“We have water losses due to the breaks,” He said. Right now we have about a 50% water loss.”

Eccher said, if things remain as they stand today, Colorado City could be without a water supply in four to five months.

“This year has been a tough year, it’s been a drought year, I don’t think we’ve had even four inches of precipitation,” he said.

The city is trying to make up for that loss through wells.

“We have enough to hopefully sustain through the winter, but we’re going to keep pumping our wells to fill the lake as we go,” he said.

But that can only help so much.

“It’s about 450,000 to 500,000 gallons a day that we’re pumping into the lake,” he said. “But like I said we’re using 500,000 gallons.”

He does have plans to help the issue long-term, which includes adding more wells to fill the lake since the city holds all of its groundwater rights.

“We’re looking at building a second dam,” Eccher said. “Which is gonna be another chunk of money.”

But none of that can’t happen right away.

“There’s a lot of forces out there and we’re not the only small town looking for money,” he said.

Eccher said he has reached out to several government agencies, including the Department of Local Affairs, to talk about funding, but hasn’t heard back.

In the meantime, he said in order to fix up the area’s aging, leaky infrastructure, they’re considering raising tap fees for water and sewer use.

“We’re making strides forward,” he said. “It’s just going to take time. Time and money. And hopefully, the money doesn't run out before the time.”