Information on Water Rate Increases
The developers of Buffalo Creek Subdivision were required to bring and/or pay for water for each house built in our neighborhood. The cost of the water was included in the price of your house. The Town of Wellington requires one acre-foot of water per home. Water law is a bit complicated in Northern Colorado, but there is a calculation for the loss of water that gets delivered to the Water Treatment facility where they account for evaporation loss into the sky and absorption into the ground. This loss of water is called “shrink”. One acre-foot of water after shrink can result in a yield of only .65 ac/ft. The Town of Wellington through its Water Enterprise follows a set of laws required by the state for the production of that water into a drinkable delivered product. Wellington has two water sources. There is a Water Treatment plant on North Poudre #3 reservoir where they can produce up to 2,000 ac/ft of water, however the plants capabilities limit that production to 1,600 to 1,700 ac/ft. per year. The Town also produces water by the Library from the Wilson wells where they are allowed by decree to pump and produce 400 ac/ft of water per year. North Poudre Reservoir #3, located north of Town on Co Rd 11, is supplied by an agricultural irrigation ditch. The Reservoir is owned by North Poudre Irrigation Company and the Town has a lease with them for the land of the water treatment facility and the ability to produce up to 2,000 ac/ft. The Water supplied to North Poudre #3 comes down a ditch that comes from the either the Poudre River or a series of reservoirs to the north. The water in this ditch is designed for Ag use and there are return flows, water coming off Ag fields, which comprise the inflow to the Reservoir. The reservoir is about 115 surface acres and is a shallow reservoir where the deepest point is about 18 feet deep. The reservoir is susceptible to algae blooms in the spring and summer months which has been attributed to the waters taste and odor during the summer months. If we take 1,700 ac/ft of water from north Poudre #3 production and 400 ac/ft from the Wilson Wells the Town could be producing 2,100 ac/ft per year. If we divide this by .65, the amount determined per home, it would appear the Town could process enough water for up to 3,200 homes (this number is not taking into account all of the businesses, restaurants, or schools that are also getting water). In a recent study put together by the Town, they claim there are currently more than 3,244 homes. If we pull the number of gallons supplied to business, it appears the Town has committed more water to the residents and businesses than they can produce. Today the Town is still allowing the building of homes, businesses, and a new High School that will open soon. The Town has run into a water shortage issue and has implemented two policies which they erroneously see as the solution to this shortage. They have issued watering restrictions, limiting Wellington Residents to watering only two (2) nights a week) and they are raising our prices to curb our use. One ac/ft of water is equal to 325,851 gallons of water. After shrink, .65 ac/ft of water is equal to 211,803 gallons of water. If you look at your water bills for the year and add up your water consumption it is probably below the 211,803 gallons that you paid for in the price of your house. People have complained that the Town is taking their paid-for water so they can continue to build without the ability to supply water. They are restricting our days we can water and have raised the rate so high that many homeowners are reporting they cannot afford to water their yards, which leads to a stressed-browned look to the neighborhood and can lead to lower property values. The Town’s reluctance to water parks and greenbelts also adds to the stressed look of the community. When I look at my older water bills there is no “Base Rate” for water. Now there is a $66.00 base rate that needs to be paid regardless of the amount of water I use. During August of 2014, a very hot month, my water production costs were .004138 per gallon. This year in January, my cost per gallon of water was .026556 per gallon (this is about a 500% increase, maybe skewed for low volume, but still a huge increase). Water rate increases are restricted by state law and many people are questioning how this much of an increase could be legally justified.
-Tim Singewald Please attend the Town of Wellington Board of Trustees Meetings the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month to learn more.