On July 14, 2021, Denver Water filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Boulder County, asserting the county is overreaching its authority and jeopardizing a federally ordered reservoir expansion critical to a safe and secure water supply for one quarter of the state’s population while risking long-planned benefits for the West Slope environment.
In late 2018, groups opposing the Gross Reservoir Expansion Project filed suit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in opposition to the 404 Permit and Record of Decision that Denver Water received in July 2017. Denver Water intervened as a respondent and is defending the permit alongside the federal respondents. Below are the primary court filings in order of submittal.
In September 2016, Denver Water and the U.S. Forest Service reached a Settlement Agreement to address past, current and future impacts Denver Water operations have on USFS resources. The three-part agreement identifies funding and projects to protect and preserve USFS resources, and includes:
Settlement Agreement – the overall master agreement describing the negotiations and resolution of issues.
Appendix 1 – 4(e) Conditions related to operation and maintenance of the Gross Expansion Project – these conditions will be part of the amended Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license.
Appendix 2 – Off-license Agreement – commitments by Denver Water and USFS related to Denver Water’s past, existing and future operations on USFS lands.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 404 Permit and Record of Decision
In July 2017 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the Gross Reservoir Expansion Project by granting Denver Water its’ 404 permit and Record of Decision. The 404 permit and Record of Decision can be found below.
Clean Water Act, Section 401 Water Quality Certification
June 2016: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued the Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the Gross Reservoir Expansion Project that certifies – with the approved mitigation and enhancement measures – the project will create a “Net Environmental Benefit” on both the West and East slopes. This certification includes the following documents:
December 2013: U.S. Fish and Wildlife issued its Biological Opinion on impacts of depletions of Denver Water’s entire system (not just the Gross Reservoir Expansion Project).
National Historic Preservation Act, Section 106 Consultation
October 2015: Denver Water and the State Historic Preservation Officer reached a Programmatic Agreement following a consultation process to meet obligations set forth in the National Historic Preservation Act. Following what is known as a Section 106 Consultation, this agreement fosters cooperation between Denver Water, and state and federal agencies to identify and document historic features and sets a procedural framework to follow in the event historic features are discovered.
During construction, the volume of construction traffic will vary day-to-day and month-to-month, depending on the type and number of construction activities taking place.
There may be delays caused by slow-moving construction vehicles on Gross Dam Road and Colorado 72. Other roads, such as Colorado 93, Colorado 128, U.S. 287, Arapahoe Road (U.S. 287 bypass to County Line Road) and County Line Road may be affected depending on the location of the construction materials needed to be transported to the site.
Denver Water is looking into alternatives for reducing construction traffic delays, including constructing and/or improving turnouts on Colorado 72 for slow-moving traffic.
To assure we fully understand the potential impacts, on Aug. 8, 2013, Denver Water conducted a test by using loaded trucks to gauge noise and safety issues using third-party experts who have conducted many similar studies. Learn more by viewing the videos at the following links:
Denver Water operates a hydroelectric power plant at Gross Reservoir under a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) hydropower license. To expand the reservoir, Denver Water needs to amend its existing hydropower license. Denver Water is required to provide information on the proposed changes at Gross Reservoir to stakeholders (e.g., relocation of recreation facilities, changes in hydropower generation, etc.), before submitting a final application to the FERC.
Please note that the draft application is a large document and it may take a long time to download.
May 28, 2021 - TAP - Here’s what to expect when boating, paddleboarding on Denver Water reservoirs this summer. “It’s important to remember that the primary purpose of our reservoirs is to store water for more than 1.5 million people in the metro area,” Ransom said....
May 21, 2021 - TAP - Denver Water completing required stream and habitat improvements years ahead of final go-ahead for Gross Reservoir expansion. “Our No. 1 objective is to do right by our partners, by our customers and by the environment,” said Jeff Martin, project...
April 1, 2021 - Today’s decision is an important step. We will continue working earnestly through Boulder’s land-use process and look forward to beginning work on a project critical to water security for 1½ million people and to our many partners on the Front Range...
Denver Water received referral agency and public comments on its 1041 Permit Application from Boulder County on December 23, 2020. On February 19, 2021, Denver Water completed and filed its response to referral agency and public comments to Boulder County. Additional...
Law Week Colorado - Nov. 24, 2020 - "... the agreement obligates Denver Water to reduce diversions during drought years. “The project itself was shaped and designed to avoid damaging or affecting flows in the driest of years,” he said. “The project will only take...