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[The response to questions submitted for the record by Mr. Rivera follows:] July 9, 2007 The Honorable Grace F. Napolitano Chairwoman Subcommittee on Water and Power Committee on Natural Resources U.S. House of Representatives 1610 Longworth Bldg Washington, DC 20515 Re: The Fryingpan-Arkansas Project at 45: Sustainable Water for the 21st Century Dear Chairwoman Napolitano:
In response to your letter of June 12, 2007 and in furtherance of my testimony presented to your committee in Pueblo, Colorado, on June 1, 2007, I would like to offer the following comments. If I may, I would like to address the questions which you presented to me in your letter of June 12, 2007 first. Post-Hearing Questions from Chairwoman Grace F. Napolitano 1. What water conservation programs does the City of Colorado Springs
participate in now? Response: The City of Colorado Springs has been a leader in the recapture, reuse and retreatment of its municipal water supplies for the past 45 years. Beginning in the early 1960s Colorado Springs began operation of a tertiary treatment facility in order to capture and reuse water for non-potable purposes within the City. During intervening years, Colorado Springs has expanded that capacity on several occasions, including an upgrade to its Las Vegas Street Waste Water Treatment Plant. Most recently Colorado Springs undertook the construction of a new 12 million gallon per day tertiary treatment facility capable of treating and delivering reusable water for non-potable reuse purposes within the City. This also includes a 3-5 million gallon per day reuse capability to the Martin Drake Power Plant for cooling water purposes.
In addition to the physical treatment and reuse programs, conservation has been an integral part of water resource planning for over 60 years. Colorado Springs has six categories that make up its water conservation portfolio. They include education, low-income support, partnerships, rates, incentives and regulations.
Education-Customer education provides the foundation for all of Springs Utilities' water conservation programs. Conservation messages appear in the customer newsletter, on the web site and in the media. The school program began in the 1990s and
features curriculum that is developed in partnership with local educators. Colorado Springs Utilities has a Xeriscape Demonstration Garden and offers free classes and tours on a range of topics for homeowners, civic and business groups.
Low-Income Support—The Home Efficiency Assistance Program (HEAP) provides financial assistance to low-income customers for the adoption of water-efficient fixtures. Free water audits are provided in partnership with the Energy Resource Center for qualified, low-income residential customers. If necessary, water leaks are repaired and inefficient showerheads, toilets and water heaters are replaced.
Partnerships—Colorado Springs recognizes the value of partnerships in promoting water conservation and works with entities throughout the region to further the water conservation message. In February, a landscape symposium is held in which hundreds of homeowners and professionals gather to learn about water-wise landscape design, installation and maintenance.
Rates—Seasonal rates are designed to encourage efficiency during the irrigation months, when the greatest demands are placed on the water system. All commercial, industrial and multi-family customers are on the seasonal rate, in effect from May 1 through October 31. The residential block rate structure provides an affordable rate for essential indoor use and sends a strong price signal for discretionary outdoor use.
Incentives—Financial incentives are used to encourage customers to upgrade their appliances and equipment to more water-efficient models. Springs Utilities began to market water-efficient rebates in 2002, during the first year of water restrictions. Since that time, rebates have been offered for ultra-low flush and dual-flush toilets, high-efficiency clothes washers, and efficient irrigation systems, including rain shutoff devices and irrigation equipment.
Regulations—Water consumption may be reduced by local, state and federal regulations. Since 1998, Colorado Springs has required water-efficient landscaping for all newly developed commercial, industrial and multi-family sites.
In 2003, Western Resource Advocates released a report entitled the Smart Water
Western Resources Advocates' Smart Water Report
2. What incentives are there for water conservation?
Pricing and purchasing incentives help encourage water conservation in the Colorado Springs community. All residential customers are on an inclining block rate which provides an affordable rate for essential indoor use, a moderate rate for typical outdoor use and an aggressive rate for excess use. The moderate and aggressive rates are 1.7 and 2.6 times the affordable rate, respectively. In addition, all commercial, industrial and multi-family customers are on a seasonal rate. The seasonal rate is 1.8 times higher during the summer months, when the greatest demands are placed on the water system.
In addition to pricing incentives, Colorado Springs Utilities offers purchasing incentives for water-efficient appliances and equipment. Currently, rebates are available for ENERGY STAR-qualified clothes washers, high-efficiency toilets, and irrigation equipment. The irrigation equipment rebates are particularly important since outdoor water use constitutes half of the water used annually. Irrigation equipment rebates are available for the purchase of qualified rain shut-off devices, irrigation controllers, spray heads with check valves, and rotating multi-stream nozzles—all technologies proven to increase outdoor water efficiency. Post-Hearing Questions from John Salazar 1. Is Aurora an agricultural or municipal entity within the District?
Response: The City of Aurora is not physically located within the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District. It is my understanding that at the time the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project was developed, the City of Aurora agreed to permit the use of certain water storage facilities in exchange for contract rights to use certain project facilities. The decision whether or not to enter into contracts for the use of Fryingpan-Arkansas facilities does not rest with the City of Colorado Springs, but with the Bureau of Reclamation.
2. How can you sit here today saying you need more water when back in
2005 Colorado Springs felt like it needed to encourage its residents to use additional water? Response: The statewide drought offered many learning opportunities, as well as burdens for most water providers in Colorado. Water restrictions are considered emergency measures used for short-term system failures or drought situations, and are not the long-term commitment to sustainable community conservation. To mitigate the impacts of the drought we increased public education and imposed water restrictions. The result was that our community reduced water consumption by approximately twenty percent and reservoirs were replenished to "near normal” levels. Restrictions were lifted in late 2005 due to improved water supply conditions, not to encourage more water use and revenue.
It is a real challenge for all public utilities in the nation to balance the need to raise sufficient revenues to meet the fixed and ongoing operating costs and cost of water acquisition with the desire to control water rates and water usage. I would like to emphasize that the comment purported to be attributed to Colorado Springs Utilities CEO, by Mr. Tollefson, represented the need to address a short-term cash flow crunch in the operation of our utilities does not imply a lack of need for longterm water supply planning, nor for the need to construct the facilities required to ensure the preservation of the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Colorado Springs. Your question suggests that a comment related to a short-term financing issue somehow obviates the City's needs and obligations to plan for a provision of water supply for its residents into the future. In my mind the two are not directly related.
I would also like to point out that despite the article you quote Colorado Springs continues to have one the of lowest per capita water use of any community within Colorado, evidence that the water conservation ethic in our community remains strong. So the point of your question seems to be moot given the fact that Colorado Springs programs encouraging water conservation and the attitude of its citizens continued to result in a very conservative per capita water use despite relaxation of water restrictions. Responses to Comments Made During the Hearing 1. Concerns about the nature and quantity of releases experienced in the
Colorado Springs Utilities system. Response: Colorado Springs operates the largest unified wastewater collection and treatment system in the State of Colorado, which includes over 1500 miles of collector system as wells as 2 wastewater treatment plants. During a disastrous flood event in 1999, several sections of Colorado Springs' collection system were destroyed by the raging floodwaters. Colorado Springs immediately reported the condition to the responsible state officials at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and worked night and day to make repairs to the system and prevent further discharges. As the result of this event, Colorado Springs undertook an extensive program of rehabilitation for its entire wastewater system
with an eye toward preventing such events in the future. The vast majority of releases Colorado Springs has experienced since 1999 can be broadly categorized in four ways. a.) Releases resulting from vandalism or the actions of third-parties such as utility contractors cutting into sewer lines. b.) Normal blockages, experienced by utilities throughout the nation and the world operating collection systems, caused by customers depositing inappropriate material, such as grease, rags or other matter into sewers. In addition, the problem caused by tree roots intruding into the sewers in search of moisture in this arid climate is common to all wastewater utilities. c.) Releases associated with the City's efforts to rehabilitate its collection system when contractors fail to adequately control the bypass operations necessary when sewers are being rehabilitated or re-lined. d.) Releases from the portion of the tertiary treatment/reuse system transporting fully treated water from the treatment plants to the point of irrigation reuse. These “releases” are only an issue because the water in the reuse system is well chlorinated to ensure that the public health is fully protected.
Finally, a separate but limited category includes additional breaks associated with extreme weather events of which there were only 8 in the eight year period since 1999. With regard to the events under category a, there were 12; category b there were 53; category c there were 9; and category d there were 23. Over time, Colorado Springs has worked hard to reduce the number of releases each year to a minimum, and has succeeded in reducing the total volume of releases significantly. Colorado Springs is confident that through its commitment of over $100 million in additional
collection system expenditures, the number of releases of any size will continue to decline.
All of these releases have been reported to the appropriate state officials and appropriate enforcement action has been taken and sanctions imposed. The City of Colorado Springs is in full compliance with those enforcement orders, has paid all of the fines that have been assessed and is ahead of all compliance schedules ordered by the State Health Department. 2. How old is the Colorado Springs wastewater treatment plant?
Response: The Las Vegas Street wastewater treatment plan was first put into operation in 1935. Over the intervening years numerous upgrades, expansions and improvements to the facility have been planned and completed. The most recent upgrade and expansion occurred in the mid 1990s, which increased the plant's capacity to 65 million gallons per day and upgraded the treatment technology. It is currently one of the most modern advanced wastewater treatment plants in the state with a rated capacity of 65/75 million gallons per day. The current inflow to the plant is 42 million gallons per day. Colorado Springs is, and continues to be, in compliance with all of the permit limits contained in the plant's NPDES permit related to the discharges from the facility. Colorado Springs is justifiably proud of the performance of this plant and its ability to deliver extremely high quality water to the Fountain Creek. 3. Will the addition of the Phillips Water Treatment and Reclamation Plant
decrease the City of Colorado Springs water use from the FryingpanArkansas Project? Response: No, it will not in the long term. As the entity responsible for approximately two-thirds of all the citizens served by the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, and who pay over 70% of the repayments costs associated with the Project, Colorado Springs' use of Project water supplies will not decrease as a result of the completion of the Phillips plant. However, Colorado Springs' ability to fully use water supplies within the City will increase as a result of the completion of the Phillips plant. Colorado Springs would like to emphasize that although the municipal participants in the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, including the City of Pueblo, the City of Colorado Springs and a number of other smaller communities within the Arkansas Basin and within the Southeastern District are entitled to use 51% of the total water supplies from the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, these communities collectively have historically only used approximately 25%, or half of their entitlement. The remainder has been utilized by agriculture. Although, in the future, municipalities, including Colorado Springs will want to secure a greater share of the project, as they are legally entitled to do, they certainly will not do so until it becomes necessary. The following summary chart further illustrates historical use of FryingpanArkansas Project waters:
I hope that the foregoing responses to your written questions as well as several that were asked of us during the hearing will be helpful to you. I have also included an updated attachment to my original testimony on Colorado Springs' contribution to the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project. I want to thank you again for permitting me to participate in the hearing and to respond to your further inquiries. Very truly yours, Lionel Rivera Mayor City of Colorado Springs
Mrs. NAPOLITANO. And we will go to Terry Scanga, General Manager, Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District.