Water in Firestone

Updated: Mar 4

As the saying goes, “Water is Life.” Now, I will go one better. “Water means quality of life.” That saying is very apropos to what is happening along the Northern Front Range of Colorado right now. Water is getting very hard to come by and with a court case in Western Colorado right now, it could get even harder. For this reason, I am one of the biggest proponents of the new water plant being built in Firestone.

Firestone currently gets 100% of its water from Grand Lake, which is located on the opposite side of the centennial divide. The water is then pumped into a 13.1-mile-long tunnel and comes out and into the Wind River for 25 miles, which then flows into Carter Lake. Carter lake is 29 miles from Firestone. This is known as the Colorado-Bog Thompson Water Project, or CBT for short.

As a career Firefighter for the last 37 years, I always want to know where the water is coming from, and can I get more of it. Having only one source of water is not a good policy for any town. Multiple sources of water should be secured and made available in order to maintain the quality of life that people expect in this day and age. Lately, Firestone's quality of life has been hindered by our current water supplier. Firestone, at this time has plenty of water dedicated to the town but the problem is the constraints of an old and undersized supply infrastructure being used by our current supplier, Central Weld County Water District. For the past three summers, the town has had to place water restrictions on residents, due to the supply infrastructure not being able to handle the required GPM (gallons per minute) to supply what the town is demanding.

“As a career Firefighter for the last 37 years, I always want to know where the water is coming from, and can I get more of it”

The other issue we are having with CWCWD is with water rates. In 2018, the Board of Trustees approved an 8% per year rate increase to maintain the town water lines and the cost of water from CWCWD. Since that time CWCWD has raised the water rates twice in multiple years. The town Board decided to NOT pass on the second rate increases to the residents, but we are at point where the town cannot do that much longer.

That is where the Firestone 2020-2040 Water Action Plan comes in. Starting in 2003, the Firestone Board of Trustees began a 16-year project to secure Firestone's water future. It is estimated that the town has spent 26 million dollars in feasibility studies, acquiring water rights, Land for reservoirs to store water, and land for the soon to be completed water plant.

In late 2018, plans were brought before the Board of Trustees for a water plant that could treat up to 1.5 million gallons of water a day and phase up to 5 million gallons a day. In early 2020, the Firestone Board of Trustee voted to move forward with the water project by approving that the town bond the project. By doing this, the Board did not waste the 26 million dollars spent up to that point on the water project, but more importantly, secured Firestone's water future for generations to come.

The bond for the water plant will mostly be paid off by development in the form of tap fees. These are fees that are charged to the developed per house or business. The rest of the binds will be paid off with user fees over the course of 30 years. The bounds can be paid off early if the funds were to be available. The 2020-2040 Water Action Plan puts Firestone in an enviable position in the Carbon Valley. We will now control our own destiny. Up until this point a share of CBT (Colorado-Big Thompson) water will cost a developer right around 63,000, which is approximately 0.6-acre foot of water. At this price, it is cost prohibitive for developers to want to build along the front range. The other and much bigger issue is CBT shares are getting very scarce. Large shares of water for projects cannot be found, and when they are, the price is very steep.

Once the Town of Firestone's water plant comes online, the cost of a share of water will be one-half to two-thirds that of a share of CBT water. This will make the Town of Firestone more attractive to developers who will bring in sit down restaurants, stores, and other amenities that Firestone residents have been wanting for a long time.

A secondary, but important component that will be part of the water plant is the project to water all of Firestone's parks with raw water. This is water that is not treated and is conveyed by a separate water line system. By doing this, the town will save a lot of money by not having to treat water that will go on grass. By doing this project, water users will eventually see lower water rates.

All of this will raise the quality of life for residents of Firestone. Fore other stories regarding water on all the Front Range, please click the links below.

Read more about water along the Front Range

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