Energy, Utilities & Water  August 16, 2021

Northern Water overrides Fort Collins Planning Commission

BERTHOUD and FORT COLLINS — The full board of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District has voted unanimously to override the decision of the Fort Collins Planning Commission that denied the water district’s application to build a diversion structure within Fort Collins to support the Northern Integrated Supply Project.

The planning commission, after a hearing June 30, voted 3-2 to deny Northern Water’s application, which would have permitted the district to build what it calls its Poudre River Intake and three pipeline segments that would be within city limits. However, because the water district received a 1041 permit from Larimer County, which designates the NISP water project as a  project of state interest, the district board could override the city denial with a super majority vote.

The NISP is a large water-supply project advanced by 15 towns, municipalities and rural water providers that will make 40,000 acre feet of water available to about a half million people in the region. Two new reservoirs — 170,000 acre-foot Glade Reservoir north of Fort Collins and 45,600 acre-foot Galeton Reservoir northeast of Greeley — will be built as part of the project.

The water district’s override on Aug. 12 is with conditions, said Jeff Stahla, spokesman for the district. “These are conditions that the district is placing on itself,” he said.

Included in the board’s packet for the meeting was a seven-page conditions of approval document, which outlined what steps the district will take to work with the city while developing the project.

Those conditions include commitments to continue coordination with the city, to obtain local, state and federal permits for the project, to acquire all easements for a segment before construction starts on that segment, and to pay when construction damages property including crops or landscaping. It will also work with the city to mitigate damage to trees.

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