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Posted on: October 21, 2020

City of Aspen Seeks Input on 50-Year Water Plan

Thomas Res

City of Aspen Seeks Community Input on 50-Year Water Plan
Community input will help shape long-term plan for this shared resource

The City of Aspen’s Water Utility is offering its second of three community engagement sessions focused on its 50-year water plan on Thursday, January 14 from 5 – 6 p.m. on the Zoom platform. Register here.

The water planning process, also referred to as Integrated Resource Planning (IRP), is a holistic approach to the management of water systems that combines supply, demand, quality, environmental protection and enhancement, financial planning, and public engagement.

The second engagement focuses on several topics around water source security including: anticipated water supply shortages and potential supply options. City staff and consultants will share highlights of research to-date including threats and vulnerabilities to the community’s water supply and considerations of potential new supplies. Public input will contribute to how the City frames its future supply portfolio and analyzes its range of options as it develops a resilient water supply strategy through 2070.

Over the past several months, the City and its consultants have been analyzing the City’s water supply sources, demands, and future supply vulnerabilities. The team compiled a comprehensive list of the City’s existing water rights in creeks, raw water ditches, and groundwater. In addition, seasonal variation in water diversions and historical demands were analyzed by water use sector. Based on this data, a potential water supply gap assessment was done under various demand and hydrologic conditions, including multiple climate change scenarios.

The City’s supply vulnerabilities due to growth, hydrologic conditions, climate change, limited storage, and emergency conditions such as avalanches and wildfires are being assessed.

During this next engagement, the City seeks community feedback and input on these findings and potential solutions to create a resilient supply for the City’s future. The session will include a historical snapshot of the City’s water utility and supply, an overview of the vulnerabilities to the water system along with potential solutions and online polling and question and answer segments.

“The input from stakeholders and community as far as their values and priorities will be significant for the City as we move forward to provide water service through 2070 and beyond. This is a critically important project that allows us to put plans in place to leave the same vibrant and resilient community resource we enjoy now for future generations,” said Tyler Christoff, Director of Aspen Utilities. “We began the initial assessment of our water system last year and are excited to be engaging the public in the plan’s development.”

The first input session was held in November 2020 and focused on soliciting input on community values around water planning and what issues were important to consider today and into the future regarding a 50-year outlook on water reliability and safety. In addition, the community is invited to add comments and ask questions on www.aspencommunityvoice.com anytime. A copy of the November presentation is also on the site.

Themes of feedback heard so far include: concern about climate change’s impact on water supply, outdoor water use conservation, a desire for more water storage, water costs, natural threats to Aspen’s water source, and growth.

The third public engagement session will be held March 3, 2021.

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 January 14, 2021 community engagement is available at www.aspencommunityvoice.com.



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