Denver Water should make plans with the goal of limiting growth.

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Fiction.

Denver Water doesn’t have the authority to control or manage growth. It is our job to plan for future needs of our customers, so we rely on outside experts (such as DRCOG) to provide population estimates and plan accordingly.

Denver Water customers need to conserve more.

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Fact.

We wholeheartedly agree with that statement, which is why we continue our industry-leading and nationally-recognized water efficiency program. The reality of the situation – as it relates to expanding Gross Reservoir – is we can’t simply conserve our way to a secure water future. Our “all of the above” approach includes promoting use of recycled water, driving conservation, and responsibly sourcing additional supply – which includes expanding Gross Reservoir.

Additional water taken by an expanded Gross Reservoir will cause our state to default on our obligations under the Colorado River Compact Agreement.

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Fiction.

The expected yield to be stored in an expanded Gross Reservoir will not impact our ability to fulfill our obligations. Besides, if the small amount of yield this project plans to gain from the Fraser River during future wet years were of concern to downstream users and threatened compact obligations, why have no objections been raised by those with legal standing during the 14-year period the project has been in the planning and permitting stages?

There is an active fault located beneath the reservoir.

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Fact AND Fiction.

There are faults beneath Gross Reservoir, but they are not active and do not pose an earthquake threat. Chapter 5, page 5-204 of the Final Environmental Impact Statement reads “…the Livingston Sheer Zone and Fault, the Copeland Fault, and the Rogers Fault are not mapped as potentially active and therefore unlikely to create earthquake activity near Gross Reservoir.” Faults that have been identified in the vicinity of the dam have been deemed inactive so there is little chance that the activation of theses faults is possible. Nonetheless, Denver Water will conduct detailed geotechnical and seismic studies in the design and construction phases of the project.

Just like they did on the Two Forks Project in 1990, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will veto and stop this project.

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Fiction.

In this June 2017 letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator states explicitly:
  • The EPA compliments the Corps’ team for addressing all of the EPA’s comments in a professional and efficient manner
  • The EPA will not (emphasis ours) be requesting a higher level of review of the Corps’ decision
  • That diversions of West Slope water to the Front Range will not (emphasis ours) result in significant degradation of West Slope watersheds

Denver Water didn’t learn anything from the Environmental Protection Agency’s veto of the Two Forks Dam project in 1990.

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Fiction.

We learned a lot, actually, which has informed our plans and actions ever since, and led to our industry-leading and nationally-recognized conservation program, pioneering the use of recycled water, and responsibly sourcing additional supply.

Failing on Two Forks was an inflection point; one where we made the conscious decision to listen more. Listening is, in part, how we arrived at expanding Gross Reservoir, as environmental groups who opposed Two Forks recommended raising Gross Dam as an alternative. The fact that Gross Reservoir was designed from the beginning for two subsequent dam raises was a contributing factor in it being selected as the preferred alternative over more than 30 that were considered.

An expanded Gross Reservoir will never fill because – according to climate models – there won’t be enough water in key West Slope watersheds.

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Fiction.

This myth is supported by an analysis that uses a different time period, different assumptions, different data and a different model than the hydrologic analysis conducted by independent experts that was published in the Army Corps of Engineers’ Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The flawed methodology used by opponents invariably produces results that differ from the model adopted by those with competing water interests on both sides of the continental divide. Further, the Corps found opponents’ attempts to compare results were inaccurate and misleading. (Source: Corps FEIS, Attachment B, Page 17)

The only certainty is an uncertain future and the Gross Project will allow us to better adapt and provides greater flexibility than our current situation.

Denver Water doesn’t have the ability to treat all the water they plan to collect and store in an expanded Gross Reservoir.

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Fiction.

Our water treatment facilities currently have the capacity to treat water to meet needs of our customers into the future. Also, we are in the design phase of the new Northwater treatment plant as part of our larger North System Renewal Program, which will provide up to 150 million gallons of water per day for our customers.