• Tom Genes

Aspen's 50 Year Water Plan

City of Aspen Seeks Community Input on 50-Year Water Plan

Third and final community input session will help shape long-term water plan

The City of Aspen’s Water Utility is offering its third of three community engagement sessions focused on its 50-year water plan on Wednesday, March 3 from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. on the Zoom platform.

The third engagement focuses on several topics that are the backbone of the community’s 50-year water plan including: current and future water supply conditions; future water supply strategies; and research to date.

The discussion on the City’s supply sources is imperative as currently Maroon Creek and Castle Creek are the primary sources for the community’s water. Forecasts indicate there will be times when these sources may not meet the City’s needs due to future demands and climate change.

“The City and our consultants forecasted Aspen's water needs through 2070 and assessed supply availability under a range of future climate conditions. Based on these data, a potential water supply gap assessment has been completed considering various demand and hydrologic conditions,” said Steve Hunter, Utilities Resource Manager for City of Aspen. “We’ve also looked very closely at the City’s supply vulnerabilities due to emergency conditions such as drought and wildfires.”

Part of the water planning process is to consider other options for sourcing sufficient water supplies, such as water storage or using ground water. Public input will contribute to how the City refines its future supply portfolio and makes investments for a resilient water supply strategy through 2070.

The session will include presentations and question and answer sessions related to a number of different future water supply strategies, how these strategies are being evaluated;, and the findings from research to date on the City’s supply and vulnerabilities.

“We have important decisions to make regarding how to reliably meet the community's long-term water needs. There are many different ways we can achieve that goal, but like any choice we make, there are tradeoffs that we need to consider,” said Tyler Christoff, Director of Aspen Utilities. "Input from stakeholders and community members will continue to help define the priorities that will guide these choices."

The community is invited to offer feedback anytime on www.aspencommunityvoice.com, which also has information on the first two engagement sessions.

Public input will help shape the final report for the water plan, which is expected by mid-2021. Anticipated IRP elements and outcomes include:

• Recommendations to increase reliability

• Balanced approach for supply & demand management

• Holistic and comprehensive alternatives analysis

• Adaptation and mitigation strategies

• Alignment with community values

• Pathway for management & investment decisions

More information on the project and registration for the March 3, 2021 community engagement is available at www.aspencommunityvoice.com.

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