Imported WISE Water
The drought of the early 2000s spurred South Metro communities to plan for a long-term, sustainable water supply. Water providers throughout the region were faced with similar conditions of relying solely on underground aquifers, a non-renewable source. Leaders saw the opportunity to partner on a solution. This partnership would allow communities to share in the expense to buy, transport and treat a renewable water supply - and so WISE was born.
Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency (WISE) is a partnership between Denver Water, Aurora Water and 10 South Metro water providers to provide a sustainable water supply. After 9 years of planning and more than $50 million in infrastructure, Castle Rock began importing WISE water in April 2018.
WISE water is a major investment and a critical piece to ensuring a sustainable water future. As we reach these major milestones in the long-term water puzzle, keeping customers informed is very important. While several key players have helped make this project a reality, there's one unsung hero who has never been recognized - the Most Hydrated Man in Castle Rock.
Join the epic adventure, and follow the Hydrated Man as he retraces the steps WISE water will take to secure Castle Rock's water future.
Video 1: Overview
The WISE partnership is one of the first of its kind in the country and has been recognized as a successful collaborative and effective project. Regional water providers are working together to share in renewable water, well water, physical pipes, treatment and storage assets, while still maintaining independent jurisdictions.
By late 2017, or early 2018, each of the communities should receive WISE water. This WISE water will advance the goal of Castle Rock, and other South Metro communities, in transitioning to a predominantly renewable water supply by 2055. Reducing the reliance on groundwater extends the supply of this non-renewable source and provides diversity in supply, creating a more sustainable water future.
To date, Castle Rock has invested $29.4 million into the WISE project. This investment is for the Town's portion of the shared resources such as Smoky Hill tank and space in the Western pipeline. It also encompasses Castle Rock specific projects such as the Outter Marker Road pipeline.
Video 2: South Platte
The primary source of water for WISE is from the South Platte River, north of Aurora. Most of this water is reuse water from the Aurora's Prairie Waters system and is combined with water from the Rocky Mountains.
This reclaimed water flows along the South Platte and is pulled in from alluvial wells that are under the river. Pulling the water through this ten or more feet of silt and sand is an environmental buffer and a form of water quality treatment. Aurora instituted Prairie Waters as a drought protection plan not only for the residents of Aurora, but surrounding communities.
Video 3: Binney Treatment Plant
Aurora's Binney Water Treatment Plant is a state-of-the-art facility treating 50 million gallons of water a day. It utilizes several treatment processes that are both environmental and technological buffers.
The ultraviolet oxidation is the most powerful process available for water treatment and the Binney Water Treatment Plant has one of the largest UV water treatment facility in the nation. With more than 6,900 high intensity ultraviolet lamps, encased in 90 steel tubes weighing more than 4,000 pounds each, these ultraviolet units continue the job that the riverbank-alluvial well filtration started.
The UV units do more than eliminate microscopic 'bugs' and are actually used as part of an advanced oxidation treatment to destroy any persistent pharmaceuticals or residuals from personal care products. The water is also run through massive carbon and sand filters with chlorination as the final purification step.
Video 4: Smokey Hill Tank
With his goal to inform and educate, the Most Hydrated Man, takes the viewer to the most visible piece of the WISE Water partnership - the Smoky Hill Water Tank. Completed in 2016, the tank can be seen from E-470 near Smoky Hill Road in Aurora. The primary purpose of the tank is to regulate pressure. All of the 10 water providers receiving WISE water are downhill from the Smoky Hill Water Tank. Utilizing gravity aids in the distribution of the water.
The tank is owned by the WISE Authority partnership and managed by the South Metro Water Supply Authority.
Video 5: Quebec Street Water Treatment Plant
The South Platte River is not the only source of WISE water. Additional supplies of WISE water come from wells throughout the area. The Quebec Street Water Treatment Plant treats this well water and mixes it with the Binney Plant water as it travels further south. This plant is jointly owned by the WISE Authority partners. Cool, huh?
Quebec Street treatment includes the removal of iron and manganese, primarily for aesthetic purposes. Quebec Street and Binney treatment plants use different treatment processes as the source of the raw water and thus possible contaminants, differ. So, now you know.
Video 6: Ridgegate Pipeline
The Most Hydrated Man is excited about each stop in the WISE water project as each piece required years of planning. Keeping customer informed about these steps creates a more knowledgeable and connected Castle Rock resident.
The Ridgegate Pipeline, constructed in 2017, connects those WISE water partners south of E-470 to the existing Western Pipeline which runs along E-470. This pipe carries one to three million gallons for each of the five southern South Metro water providers. Parker Water and Sanitation is responsible for the construction and maintenance of this piece.
Video 7: Rueter-Hess Reservoir
Though not officially a part of the WISE water project, Rueter-Hess Reservoir can store excess WISE and imported water for Castle Rock and other communities. The reservoir is owned by Parker Water with partnerships from other South Metro water providers. Rueter-Hess will hold 75,000 acre-feet (24 billion gallons) of water, of which Castle Rock will own 8,000 acre-feet.
The purpose of Rueter-Hess Reservoir is to store drinking water. While Rueter-Hess is a beautiful space that beckons the recreational user, contact with humans, especially oil and gas from boat motors, makes the water dirty. Removing these contaminants adds to the cost, time and technology needed in the treatment processes for drinking water standards. Therefore, only limited recreational activities are being developed in the reservoir. While the Most Hydrated Man, of course, gets special access to the reservoir, you will be able to enjoy the reservoir through specific activities.
Video 8: Outter Marker Road Pipeline
To maximize cost efficiency, Castle Rock has looked for partners at each step of the WISE development. In addition to partnering with participating water providers along the way, we utilized an existing Xcel energy easement to build the local pipeline. Utilizing this easement minimized land development costs and reduced inconveniences to residents during construction.
This pipeline is a 36-inch water main and could carry up to 14 million gallons of water each day. The Outter Marker Road pipeline will connect to the Ridgegate line via The Canyons Pipeline. The Canyons Pipeline, is the responsibility of Parker Water and is the last piece to be constructed.
Video 9: The Last Stop
The Ray Waterman Regional Water Treatment Center (RWRWTC) is the southernmost point for WISE water. The plant does not treat the water as Binney or Quebec Street water treatment facilities have already done so. WISE water is pumped to the RWRWTC for distribution to homes throughout Castle Rock. As we receive only one to three million gallons of WISE water and our daily demand is greater than that, WISE water is combined with Castle Rock's other water supplies. Surface water from East Plum Creek and groundwater from our aquifers is mixed with WISE water at this plant.
Friends from Denver should visit to taste our water as Castle Rock Water won best-tasting water in the three-state region in 2015 and second place in 2016, beating out both Denver and Aurora!
The Most Hydrated Man thanks you for following him on his WISE Water journey and learning about this momentous project ensuring Castle Rock has a sustainable water future.