MINTURN • The cities of Colorado Springs and Aurora are increasing their efforts to develop a reservoir on lower Homestake Creek in the Eagle River basin that would hold between 6,850 acre-feet and 20,000 acre-feet of water.
The two Front Range cities, working together as Homestake Partners, have filed an application with the U.S. Forest Service to drill test bores at four potential dam sites on the creek, renowned for its complex wetlands.
They briefed members of Colorado’s congressional delegation in April about federal legislation they are drafting to adjust the Holy Cross Wilderness boundary near the dam sites.
And Aurora spent $4.1 million in 2018 to purchase a 150-acre private parcel that accounts for about half the surface area of the 20,000-acre-foot version of the reservoir, removing one obstacle to submitting a land-use application to the Forest Service.
“We are in preparation to permit this overall project, to try and get that larger application in, so every piece of the project has had more time and effort spent on it,” said Kathy Kitzmann, a water resources principal with Aurora Water.
The Whitney Reservoir project is defined in part by the Eagle River Memorandum of Understanding, a 1998 agreement that gives Colorado Springs and Aurora a basis to pursue 20,000 acre-feet of water from the Western Slope.