Conservation

Homes in the Front Range
Homes in the Front Range
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Like most Coloradans, we love all of the things this state has to offer. Whether you enjoy a weekend escape to the mountains, the serenity of nearby rural towns or the hustle of the thriving downtown scene, you can find nearly anything that fits with your interests and personality. Except water. Which seems strange. After all, isn’t Colorado home to the Rocky Mountains and the Colorado River and more snowpack than anywhere else in the upper 48 states? Even though all of that may be true, Coloradans don’t have the rights to use all of the water that falls in our state. People in California, Arizona and other arid states have a claim to some of the water that originates here. The problem we find ourselves in has to do with how much water is falling within our borders, how much we can keep and how much we need to support our population. Spoiler alert: there isn’t enough. In fact, we aren’t even getting enough water falling within our state (that we can keep) to support the current population, let alone the projected increases in population. There are three concepts that govern Pure Cycle’s philosophy to water conservation, which may help you understand how critical this topic truly is to all Coloradans: water reuse, nonrenewable water supply and renewable water supply.

Water Reuse

Water Reuse
Water Reuse Graphic
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Every drop of water you’ve ever had to drink has gone through at least 1,000 kidneys. Well, that might not be true. It would be difficult to empirically state how many times water has passed through a human system before it reaches your water bottle or glass, but the concept is relevant: nature has a great way of reusing water through the hydrological cycle.

We also reuse water. As operators with a focus on conservation, it’s important for us to reuse water as much as we can while maintaining legislative compliance. The image to the right is a simple visualization of our basic water reuse policy: we obtain water through wells or diversion, treat it to safety standards, store it in collection facilities, distribute it to homes and businesses, collect the wastewater, treat the wastewater and then reuse wastewater in an irrigation capacity. If we were able to, we would even treat wastewater for reuse in homes and businesses!

By collecting, treating and reusing wastewater, we can reduce our state’s reliance on water coming from waterbodies and aquifers. As a side benefit, it’s more profitable for Pure Cycle to reuse wastewater, too.

Nonrenewable Water Supply

Our Aquifers

Before we can reuse water, we have to source it. In the semiarid plains off the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains, water is usually sourced from the mountains or aquifers. Unfortunately, if you live further away from the mountains you depend more on water from aquifers than people near the foothills.

Here's what we do to help out:

  • Pure Cycle applies a punitive pricing system that discourages people from overusing water. Households with higher non-irrigated landscaping (or at least Xeriscaping) exteriors and efficient indoor appliances (i.e., showers, toilets, washers and driers) are rewarded by our pricing tiers.
  • Our Dual Distribution System substantially reduces the amount of water that is wasted by a traditional water system.
  • Individual rain meters shut off irrigation systems in the event that natural precipitation exceeds specified amounts.
  • We use the latest technology to immediately detect leaks in our distribution systems.

Renewable Water Supply

Arapahoe Aquifer Well Head
Aquifer Well Head

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Fortunately, there are additional ways to source water other than wells. Pure Cycle has obtained water rights to divert water from Box Elder Creek, the Arkansas River and has adjudicated rights to build a reservoir in the Lowry Range. But this these sources are only a fraction of our total water supply, which emphasizes the gravity of our pursuit of water conservation.

Operations

Pure Cycle monetizes its assets by selling wholesale water and wastewater services to local government and industrial entities. We currently have agreements in place to serve about 300 Single Family Equivalent (SFE) water connections and about 200 SFE wastewater connections, and have capacity to support 60,000 SFE connections (see Water Assets). Within the near future, we plan to finalize agreements that will increasingly monetize our valuable portfolio of water assets.

Currently, we operate in four general areas.

Lowry Range

Lowry Range
The Lowry Range, looking West from Boxelder Creek
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As a result of the 1997 “Rangeview Water Agreements,” Pure Cycle is obligated to design, construct, operate and maintain the water and wastewater systems for Rangeview Metropolitan District (the “District”), a quasi-municipal corporation and political subdivision of Colorado formed in 1986 for the purpose of providing water and wastewater service to the Lowry Range and other approved areas.

The Lowry Range is 27,000 acres (i.e., about 40 square miles) in size and is considered one of the largest contiguous parcels under single ownership next to a major metropolitan area in the United States. That’s important because under the “Rangeview Water Agreements” with the Land Board, which owns the land, the District has the exclusive rights to provide water and wastewater services to 24,000 acres of the Lowry Range.

As demand in the area increases, which will be determined by the Land Board’s tolerance for development of the Lowry Range, we will export less water and increasingly utilize our portfolio in a retail capacity. Until then, our System Interconnection and export infrastructure allows us to use this water in other regions with water and wastewater services demands in excess of their capacities.

Wild Pointe

The 1,100 acre mater planned community, Wild Pointe, located in arid-Elbert County requires service to over 260 residential and commercial lots. Pure Cycle entered an agreement with Elbert County to exclusively provide water to the master planned community by purchasing the water rights associated to the land.

Arapahoe County Fairgrounds

Arapahoe Water Tower
Arapahoe County Water Tower
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In 2005 we entered into an agreement with Arapahoe County to design, construct, operate and maintain a water system for, and provide water services to, the county for use at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds (the “Fairgrounds”). We constructed and own a deep water well, the pipelines that transport water to the Fairgrounds and the 500,000-gallon water tank in the photo to the right.

Consulting

In addition to providing water and wastewater services to governmental and industrial entities, Pure Cycle engages with landowners and municipalities as a consulting Operator in Responsible Charge (ORC) for various water related needs. We currently consult with the Town of Bennett, East Quincy Holdings and Watkins Square.

Assets

Pure Cycle and Rangeview Water System

All together, Pure Cycle owns the water rights (or exclusive access to) nearly 29,000 acre feet of water per year. Combined with our developed infrastructure, we are able to provide wholesale water and wastewater services to approximately 60,000 Single Family Equivalents (SFEs) or over 150,000 people.

We plan to utilize these assets, along with our adjudicated reservoir sites, with local governmental entities who will in turn provide residential and commercial water and waste water services to communities along the Front Range. We principally target the I-70 Corridor, located east of downtown Denver and south of Denver International Airport along Interstate 70, which is predominately undeveloped and is expected to experience substantial growth over the next 30 years.

Our assets reflect this vision. Click on the map to view our current assets and some of our planned future assets. More information can be found on each property, system or agreement below.

Lowry Range

Within unincorporated Arapahoe County, about 20 miles southeast of downtown Denver, lies the Former Lowry Bombing and Gunnery Range (Lowry Range), which is now owned by the State Board of Land Commissioners (“Land Board”). Pursuant to our 1996 agreement with the Land Board, Pure Cycle owns or controls approximately 26,000 acre feet of tributary, non-tributary and not non-tributary groundwater rights, and an additional 26,000 acre feet of adjudicated reservoir sites.

In addition, we have contractual rights to 8 wells and 10 miles of buried pipeline through the East Cherry Creek Valley (ECCV) Water and Sanitation District.

WISE

WISE Infrastructure Map
WISE Infrastructure
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Pure Cycle partners with 10 other members of the South Metropolitan Water Supply Authority (“SMWSA”) in the Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency (WISE) collaboration. Pure Cycle, through Rangeview Metropolitan District, funds infrastructure, water delivery, operations and other costs in exchange for 3,000,000 gallons per day of transmission pipeline capacity and 500 acre feet per year of water. The agreement is a cost effective way to increase our capacity to provide water services within our target geography, and will influence the way regional partnerships form to solve to future water supply needs.

Sky Ranch

Our Sky Ranch Master Planned Community will have retail water and wastewater facilities capable of serving 5,000 SFEs. Please visit the Sky Ranch pages of this website for more information.

Water & Wastewater

400,000 Additional Acre Feet of Water Per Year to Support Population GrowthWater is our most valuable resource.

It’s no secret that the semi-arid Denver Metro Area is growing quickly. 70% of Colorado’s growth is expected in the water-short Platte River Basin, which will result in water services demands in excess of the current capabilities of municipal service providers, especially during drought conditions. In fact, the Statewide Water Supply Initiative estimates that population growth in the Denver region and South Platte River Basin could result in additional water supply demands of over 400,000 acre feet by the year 2030.

So how will Colorado sustain this kind of population growth with its water shortage problem?

Pure Cycle is uniquely positioned with significant water and water related assets available for municipal consumption. We believe that water and the availability of water will continue to be critical to growth prospects for the region and the state, and that competition for available sources of water will continue to intensify.

We also believe that Colorado’s future water supply needs will be met through conservation, reuse and the development of new supplies. It is our goal to be the leaders in finding and supplying the solution to our water shortage problem.

Colorado's future water supply needs will be met through conservation, reuse and the development of new supplies.