Colorado Springs is known for its breath-taking Rocky Mountain scenery, outdoor activities, Evangelical Christians and high-altitude sports. We are not known for our abundance of water.
We are pretty much a high desert. A “high desert” is a place that is over 2,000 feet above sea level and receives less than 10 inches of precipitation a year. Colorado Springs is over 6,000 feet above sea level and receives only about 15 inches of precipitation a year. But, we are blessed with over 250 days of sunshine a year. I guess it is give and take.
But, if we do not have a lot of water within our city, where does the water we use come from?
According to a recent report from the Colorado Springs Utility Company, About 75% of the water that Colorado Springs uses is from mountain springs in the areas of Aspen, Leadville and Breckenridge – Colorado. Protective pipes transfer this water down from the mountains to be stored in local reservoirs like Rampart Reservoir and Catamount Reservoir.
Rampart Reservoir is a 500 surface acre lake located between the United States Air Force Academy and Woodland Park – nestled in the middle of the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. Catamount Reservoir is a 210 surface acre lake on the North Slope of Pikes Peak. Both of these reservoirs offer an abundance of hiking, biking, camping and fishing opportunities for Colorado Springs residents and visitors.
From these reservoirs, water is transferred to water treatment plants before making its way into our homes and businesses.
The other 25% of our water in Colorado Springs comes from local surface water sources and local ground water sources. These sources include:
Local Surface Water Sources:
- Pikes Peak Northern and Southern Slopes
- Cheyenne Creeks
- Fountain Creek
- Peakview Reservoir in Monument
- Northfield Watershed
Local Ground Water Sources – Aquifers:
- Arapahoe (4 wells)
- Denver (1 well)
- Laramie-Fox Hills (1 well)
- Widefield (4 wells)
Colorado Springs Home Owners: Most of the year we are on some kind of water restriction – certain days that we are allowed to water our lawns. Currently we are on a voluntary water restriction because of the severe droughts we experienced in 2002. Xeriscaping is an excellent alternative to traditional lawn-landscaping.
Another byproduct of being in a high desert is the absence of residential pools. In most cases, an in-ground pool actually decreases the property value, as it costs way too much to maintain and keep filled with water. It is seen as a waste.
Car wash facilities also make a great effort to be as conservative as possible when running their businesses. In fact, businesses get rewarded when they go out of their way to conserve water.
The water that we have and the water that we get from the mountains is very precious to us. Most ‘Springers (Colorado Springs Residents) are very conservative with water and respect what we have.
For more information on Colorado Springs water, water treatment and water usage, check out these sites:
(Reservoir Photos courtesy of Springs Gov.com and the Federal Forest Service websites.)