“Water Supply Answers” (9/14/13)

From: Aaron Harber
Sent: Saturday, September 14, 2013 5:38 AM
To: Mark Gruber
Cc: Joe Wilson ; Ronda Grassi; Janice Moore; Paul Ogg; Joe Carnival; Jonathan Hager; A.J. Krieger ; Gary Behlen; Marty Ostholthoff
Subject: Water Supply Answers



www.GoldenRun.com     Aaron@GoldenRun.com

2500 North 119th Street, Lafayette, CO 80026-9216

P:  (303) 666-6161    C:  303-718-3399


Dear Mark,


You have asked about water usage and supplies for Golden Run so we wanted to give you some specifics about what we have projected.  Our response is highly detailed in an effort to thoroughly cover all the questions we believe might arise related to this subject.  Before I go into too much detail, I first wanted to thank Gary Behlen, who, as part of our collaborative effort, was very helpful in providing data about Erie as well as outlining the Town’s plans for its ultimate build-out.  Golden Run’s team, led by our Chief Engineer, Jeffrey Ruppert, will be working closely with Gary and his professional staff over the next several years so all the issues related to water supplies & delivery as well as wastewater treatment are addressed to everyone’s satisfaction.  This will be a multi-year effort and is a good example of the collaborative approach we all are using --- another unique feature of Golden Run.


From a Big Picture perspective, via Golden Run Erie can demonstrate key elements of Sustainability.  By being visionary and creative, we can achieve extraordinary results which others can use to make a difference.  I am confident that, by working together, our goals are realistic.


Now, on to the numbers.  In the U.S., typical water usage estimates per household are in the 350 gallons per day (American Water Works) to 450 gallons per day range.  Erie comes in at an average of 411 gallons daily per water tap, with a significant portion attributable to watering lawns, gardens, and yards. 


Our plan is to cut consumption 50% per residential unit due to the lower average number of people per residence and an additional 33% due to design and water usage practices.  We have projected 1½ persons per residence but, for these projections, we wanted to be more conservative and increased that average 20% to 1¾ persons per residence.  That average, alone, could reduce the Golden Run number from 411 gallons per day per residence to 226 gallons per day per residence (a 45% reduction).  Hence, the initial reduction would be based solely on household size rather than changes in design and water usage practices.


If this number, in turn, was reduced by a third (i.e., not the original number being reduced by 33% but the already reduced number --- an even more conservative approach), due to lifestyle approaches and conservation efforts, the average monthly usage per residence would be 151 gallons a day --- a total reduction of 260 gallons a day per household or 63%. 


Finally, if the 33% reduction were applied to the original 411 gallons per day number, the final daily per residence usage would be reduced 78% to only 90 gallons a day.  Our original 75% target would result in a daily average per household of 103 gallons per day.


We still have an ultimate target of 75% but the preceding, more conservative calculation falls short of this by 9 percentage points.  To close that gap, we would deploy an extensive gray water system for the entire community which would be used for outdoor watering as well as other approaches such as rainwater collection, recycling, and on-site treatment.  We believe these strategies, along with a community philosophy focused on water conservation and re-use as well as water-sensitive landscaping techniques (such as xeriscaping), should allow us to achieve the 75% reduction goal.


As you may recall, a 75% reduction was achieved a few years ago nearby in the City of Lafayette when there was a gap between available supplies and the completion of portions of their water delivery system.  This demonstrated how such a number is achievable.  However, this happened in a sudden, relatively unplanned manner and many Lafayette citizens, who were prohibited from normal activities such as watering lawns, were quite unhappy.  With the right planning, we can achieve the same numerical goal without any dislocation.


As an illustration of a community which already is achieving the numbers we project, in Sante Fe, New Mexico, the average daily water use is 107 gallons per person.  Indoor residential use accounts for 59 gallons a day per person.  Thus, given Golden Run’s design --- the vast majority of which is multi-family (i.e., apartments, townhomes, and condominiums) --- a target of 100 gallons per 1¾-person household per day should be a realistic objective.


At the same time, however, if we have 25,000 residential units and they each require 45,000 gallons a year, that is over 900 million gallons annually.  Add in the commercial sector and you’re probably looking at almost 1 billion gallons a year.  An acre-foot of water is 325,853 gallons so this would translate into about 3,000 acre-feet annually.  At $20,000 to $30,000 per acre-foot, the acquisition tab could be $60 to $90 million.  The off-site infrastructure for that water could easily cost an additional +/-$10 million for transport and another +/-$15 million for treatment.  So the total tab easily could be in the $85 to $125 million range.


What we have going for us is (1) the small household size, (2) designs which incorporate recycling and the use of gray water, (3) the fact there will be very little landscape to water on a per-residence basis, (4) the benefits of economies of scale, and (5) there are new technologies which are now available which will aid in lowering the cost of treatment of both water to meet drinking standards and later, at the other end, to make wastewater re-usable.  We also would plan on extensive use of non-potable water for outdoor watering.  When you factor in these approaches, our numbers are even more achievable.


I cannot emphasize the relevance of economies of scale to achieve sustainability objectives.  In the case of water use, the number of units for which we are planning and the fact the vast majority are in multi-family units allows us to achieve our stated objectives.  This is a perfect example of why reducing those numbers does not make sense.


In terms of the available water supply, the bottom line is water always is available as long as you are willing to pay the market price for it.  For Erie, water is available from a number of sources, including the Colorado Big Thompson system.  The Windy Gap project is expected to come online in 2016 --- well before we expect any construction at Golden Run.  Then the Northern Integrated Supply Project is expected to be available starting in less than seven years (2020), which should be a good fit for Golden Run.


Our Annexation Agreement will address these issues and will make it clear Golden Run is responsible for the resources needed to require the water rights the Town and Golden Run determine are needed to establish and maintain the viability of the community.


With the Town’s Treatment Plant conveniently located across the street from Golden Run and the fact it is expandable, we believe all water treatment needs can be easily addressed.  The wastewater challenges are greater and will be addressed separately but we have some creative approaches we believe can be used to meet all of the new community’s needs --- with a good portion accomplished on-site.


Once Golden Run is approved, we will begin a process with Gary and his team to review the Town’s Master Plans and determine what needs to be done.  We expect that process --- for both water supply and wastewater treatment --- to involve a two-year study starting in 2014 and ending in 2016.  As Gary has mentioned to us, “There are many larger towns in the area” which have successfully addressed these same issues and there is no reason Erie cannot do the same.  And because we are not under pressure to begin construction, we have the time to plan properly in a collaborative manner.  This also will allow us to consider new approaches and technologies which could result in significant efficiencies and cost savings --- all while being environmentally sustainable and friendly.


We also will work with Gary to identify grants that are available to meet the water and wastewater requirements for Golden Run.  There are a number of sources who provide matched funding and we will make an all-out effort to secure as much funding as possible.  Regardless of what external funding is found, Golden Run ultimately will be responsible for providing the financing to ensure adequate resources to meet all water- and wastewater-related needs of the community.  We expect the expansion of Erie’s water portfolio and treatment facilities will have benefits for the entire community simply due to the extra capacity we will help add.


In addition to the grant funding process, which we believe is likely to become less generous over time, the only other time pressure we have would involve the acquisition of water rights.  Given the rate of increase in the cost of water rights, this is one challenge we would want to begin addressing as soon as Golden Run is annexed by the Town.  We expect to begin the acquisition planning process immediately after the approval of Golden Run and do not want to delay that task.  We are similarly motivated on the grant front.


In conclusion, these are the kinds of objectives which will make Golden Run truly sustainable and which will create a model for other municipalities to use.  These objectives are indicative of the visionary nature of Golden Run which you and I have discussed.  I hope this answered all your questions and provided you the additional information you need to continue to support Golden Run.  As always, please call me any time with any questions.


Sincerely yours,





Board and Community Correspondence

As part of the transparency of the project, Golden Run periodically posts correspondence it believes citizens might be interested in having the opportunity to read. Please contact us with any additional questions.