Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

NOREEN: SDS is historic, but far from done

By: BARRY NOREEN
August 19, 2011
0
photo - 
	 Photo by
Photo by  

At the risk of parroting officials who waxed poetically, Friday’s kick-off event in for the beginning of construction for the Southern Delivery System water project really was historic.

Whether you are an SDS supporter or critic, it’s undeniable the project has survived unlike many others, overcoming political and bureaucratic hurdles.

Most of the big water projects proposed during the last 30 years in Colorado have one thing in common — they never got built. This one has a long way to go, and there are sure to be a few bumps in the road, which happens with big construction projects.

But construction has officially begun. That cannot be said of Denver’s ill-fated Two Forks Dam, or of Homestake II, the project once planned by Colorado Springs and Aurora, or the Union Park project, which was to have diverted water from the Gunnison River Basin to the Denver area.

The era of big water projects ended when federal subsidies ended and when environmentalists began defeating projects that called for new dams. In the era that followed, intra-state political fights became the new obstacles for water projects to hurdle.

Political opposition from Pueblo was the toughest part, and it took Springs officials a long time to see that.

The feds aren’t paying for SDS. There’s no new dam, no endangered species issue. We’re not taking West Slope water. That’s the formula for success.

Beginning construction on a huge water project is something that has not happened in Colorado for a long time, and it won’t happen again soon. From that purely objective point of view, the kickoff for SDS is historically notable.

“A tremendous example of perseverance and ingenuity,” said Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach, who set an unofficial record for brevity, as his remarks lasted less than a minute.

Newly elected, Bach had nothing to do with the 23-year process that brought SDS to this point. City Hall still has work to do, as several acknowledged, and officials still will play a role until water begins flowing to city taps in the spring of 2016.

Water rates will continue to rise to pay for SDS and it’s possible that each time rates go up, City Hall may have to defend it anew. That will be easier if the future of the Banning Lewis Ranch comes into focus, but for now Houston-based Ultra Resources will control 18,000 acres inside the city limits, where oil and natural gas drilling could occur.

Banning Lewis is the city’s biggest undeveloped parcel and the likely destination for SDS water. If the property remains vacant, the city still could selling some water outside the city limits, if such opportunities arise.

Meanwhile, SDS is the only major water project going forward in Colorado.

Historic.

Listen to Barry Noreen on KRDO NewsRadio 105.5 FM and 1240 AM at 6:35 a.m. on Fridays and read his blog updates at gazette.com

blogs/barrysblog

 

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.