Protecting the Environment

The pipeline from Pueblo Reservoir is the most environmentally responsible route for SDS. SDS partners and regulatory agencies agree on comprehensive mitigation plans to ensure the environment is protected as SDS is built and operated. For example, once water begins to flow to the partner communities, SDS will invest $50 million in a regional partnership to improve Fountain Creek. 

Colorado Springs Utilities' regional commitments 

Environmental Impact Statement

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation concluded a nearly 6-year-long Environmental Impact Statement in 2009 with input from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. SDS from Pueblo Reservoir posed the fewest environmental impacts of all alternatives studied. The Record of Decision, mitigation plans and numerous permits outline requirements for avoiding or mitigating environmental impacts.

The Pueblo County 1041 Land Use Permit (also see Pueblo County 1041 Permit Terms and Conditions) requires that SDS mitigate construction and operation impacts, and provides protection for Fountain Creek, Pueblo Reservoir, landowners and Pueblo County residents.

The agreement includes a commitment for SDS to contribute $50 million for improvements to Fountain Creek administered through the Fountain Creek Watershed, Flood Control and Greenway District. The contribution will be made in installments once the SDS pipeline begins delivering water to Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs Utilities also committed to invest an additional $75 million in its wastewater collection system rehabilitation programs or wastewater reuse systems through 2024. This money will be used to improve and fortify wastewater lines to minimize risks to Fountain Creek or its tributaries.

SDS investments in mitigation on Fountain Creek are being leveraged with additional state and local funding for more projects to improve and protect this important waterway, and to create a regional amenity for many communities to enjoy.

Pueblo County Construction Progress Summary

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved a 404 Permit, as required under the U.S. Clean Water Act because the project will have permanent and temporary impacts on jurisdictional wetlands.
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State Water-Quality 401 Certification

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment approved the state water quality certification for SDS. The certification evaluated water quality impacts and mitigation measures.

The Colorado Water Conservation Board and Colorado Wildlife Commission approved a Fish and Wildlife Mitigation Plan, which outlines projected impacts to fish and wildlife, and provides a blueprint to address those impacts.

Fountain Creek is an essential component of Colorado Springs’ water infrastructure, and we have a responsibility to help maintain it. A tremendous amount of work has been done over the past decade to improve, protect and transform Fountain Creek.

The Pueblo County 1041 land-use permit for SDS, and the Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision contain a number of requirements for avoiding or mitigating impacts to the creek. In many cases, SDS’ planned mitigation will improve the creek’s health over current conditions.

In many cases, SDS' planned mitigation will improve the creek's health over current conditions. SDS has committed to spending more than $145 million to benefit Fountain Creek and has already invested $32.4 million of that prior to construction being concluded. See chart below for full list:

Commitment

Status

 $50M Fountain Creek District
$600K invested for flood control studies, administration; remaining installments once SDS delivers water to Colorado Springs
 $75M Colorado Springs wastewater system improvements
$26.6M (or more than 1/3) invested to date - remaining amount by 2024
 $15M to Pueblo County for road rehabilitation
Final installment paid in Dec. 2013
 $2.2M to Pueblo County for dredging Fountain Creek
Paid in 2011
$3.6M Fountain Creek improvement project
Approved by Fountain Creek District; construction nearly complete
 Arkansas River Flow Programs
Since 2004, Colorado Springs water operations has/will protect minimum and recreational flows through Pueblo
>$10M for Fish Stocking, Habitat and Infrastructure Improvements
Future SDS funding for fish stocking, habitat and infrastructure improvements at reservoirs (includes Lakes Pueblo, Henry, Meredith)
$300K for aquatic research
Current/future SDS funding of State Wildlife aquatic research on flow, quality and habitat (Monument and Fountain Creeks)
 Angling, wildlife recreation and trails at future SDS reservoirs
Partnering with Colorado Parks & Wildlife to develop plans as part of SDS future phase
 Opportunities for southern Colorado businesses
Nearly $265 million to southern Colorado businesses; more opportunities anticipated

Find out more about Fountain Creek improvements
Click here to see a video on the Fountain Creek improvements
Fountain Creek Fact Sheet

Colorado Springs Utilities has built new wetlands at Clear Spring Ranch to restore Fountain Creek’s banks, provide wildlife habitat and improve water quality.

In September 2011, Colorado Spring Utilities and some 65 volunteers from Southern Colorado created a new wetland at Clear Spring Ranch, a property located on Fountain Creek between Colorado Springs and Fountain. A combination of more than 4,500 plants, shrubs and trees were planted and more work is planned. Once established, the wetland will help restore and stabilize the banks of Fountain Creek – providing additional habitat for wildlife and improving water quality by reducing erosion along the streambed.

In addition to wetland mitigation, Colorado Springs Utilities plans to realign and add curves to a stretch of the creek to slow down flows and help reduce erosion.

 

     

Conservation has been an integral part of what Colorado Springs Utilities has done for more than 60 years. We began using meters to conserve water in the 1940s, long before it was standard practice. We pioneered the use of treated wastewater for irrigation in the 1960s. We opened our award-winning Xeriscape™ Demonstration Garden in the 1990s. And our 1996 Water Resource Plan identifies conservation as one of four primary components for meeting future water needs.

We’re proud of our conservation efforts and what they’ve accomplished. Our per capita residential water use is among the lowest along Colorado’s Front Range. Our community used 5 billion gallons less water in 2007 than in 2001, despite a 10 percent increase in population. Our customers’ conservation efforts in recent years already have allowed us to delay the cost of building a new water delivery system by several years.


SDS Phase I

  • Pueblo Dam connection
  • Raw and finished water pipeline
  • 3 water pump stations
  • 1 water treatment plant
 

Contact Us By Mail

Colorado Springs Utilities
Southern Delivery System
121 S. Tejon Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80947

 

For General Questions

Phone: 855-737-4968
Email: sdsinfo@csu.org
Media contact: 719-668-8793

Project Videos: