Aspen Community Water Plan

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

Protecting and Safeguarding our Water Future
The City of Aspen has provided safe and reliable drinking water for the community since 1966. We work around the clock to make sure every drop is safe and provides the vital resource our community needs to live, work, and recreate. As a community that relies on snow for our water supply, we often think about time: yesterday's snow is tomorrow's glass of water and the source for all our daily needs. Thinking about tomorrow is what we are focused on today.

Our Water Source

Water for the Aspen community originates in pristine watersheds for home, business, agriculture, and recreational use. Primarily fed by snow from the Elk Mountains, Aspen’s water comes largely from Maroon and Castle Creeks. Because the City has limited storage, current flows and the City’s water rights dictate availability.




A Roadmap for Our Water Future
In planning for our region’s future, we recognize that our community faces the challenges of a changing climate and the need for adaptation. Over the past 25 years, the average temperature in Aspen has risen 3 degrees, while snowfall has dwindled by 16% and population has risen by nearly 10 percent. With the average annual water demand projected to increase in the next 15 years, this future landscape makes securing a safe and reliable water supply an important priority for the City of Aspen.

The strategic water planning process now underway, also referred to as Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) is a holistic approach to the management of water systems that combines supply, demand, quality, environmental protection and enhancement, financial planning, and public engagement. With climate change, a growing year-round population, increasing risk of wildfire and drought, and little water storage, it is essential for the City to actively plan and implement tactics for a safe and reliable water supply. In addition, the 50-year plan will help build on the community's water conservation successes, optimize use of the City’s current water rights, and provide direction on conditional water rights the City holds.

Below are tabs for you to engage with us on what issues and values you want to share with us around Aspen's long-terms planning process in additions to tabs focused on water vulnerability and water supply. In addition, there is a tab marked "Questions". If you have any, let us know and we will get back to you.


Protecting and Safeguarding our Water Future
The City of Aspen has provided safe and reliable drinking water for the community since 1966. We work around the clock to make sure every drop is safe and provides the vital resource our community needs to live, work, and recreate. As a community that relies on snow for our water supply, we often think about time: yesterday's snow is tomorrow's glass of water and the source for all our daily needs. Thinking about tomorrow is what we are focused on today.

Our Water Source

Water for the Aspen community originates in pristine watersheds for home, business, agriculture, and recreational use. Primarily fed by snow from the Elk Mountains, Aspen’s water comes largely from Maroon and Castle Creeks. Because the City has limited storage, current flows and the City’s water rights dictate availability.




A Roadmap for Our Water Future
In planning for our region’s future, we recognize that our community faces the challenges of a changing climate and the need for adaptation. Over the past 25 years, the average temperature in Aspen has risen 3 degrees, while snowfall has dwindled by 16% and population has risen by nearly 10 percent. With the average annual water demand projected to increase in the next 15 years, this future landscape makes securing a safe and reliable water supply an important priority for the City of Aspen.

The strategic water planning process now underway, also referred to as Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) is a holistic approach to the management of water systems that combines supply, demand, quality, environmental protection and enhancement, financial planning, and public engagement. With climate change, a growing year-round population, increasing risk of wildfire and drought, and little water storage, it is essential for the City to actively plan and implement tactics for a safe and reliable water supply. In addition, the 50-year plan will help build on the community's water conservation successes, optimize use of the City’s current water rights, and provide direction on conditional water rights the City holds.

Below are tabs for you to engage with us on what issues and values you want to share with us around Aspen's long-terms planning process in additions to tabs focused on water vulnerability and water supply. In addition, there is a tab marked "Questions". If you have any, let us know and we will get back to you.


Discussions: All (4) Open (4)
  • Water Supply Vulnerability

    about 2 months ago
    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    What supply vulnerabilities are of most concern to you?

    Part of planning for a reliable and robust water supply for the community is identifying potential threats that could temporarily interrupt existing or future supply sources. Once identified, measures can be identified to mitigate the most significant vulnerabilities to enhance the resilience of the City's water supply system. The City has identified nine categories of vulnerabilities that could threaten Aspen's current or future water sources. The relative risk of each is driven by the likelihood of occurrence and the consequences if the event did occur. These vulnerabilities include:

    • Avalanches- Avalanches in the Castle Creek or Maroon Creek watershed could result in temporary interruption to water supply. Avalanches can further result in downed trees, which can increase the severity of wildfires and can contribute to water quality issues in the watershed.
    • Wildfire- Wildfires have become increasingly common in Colorado. A wildfire in the Castle Creek or Maroon Creek watersheds has the potential to create significant water quality issues feeding into the City’s water treatment facility for months or even years.
    • Infrastructure Failure- Infrastructure failures can occur in source water diversion and conveyance systems, water treatment facilities, or treated water distribution piping and pumping systems. Infrastructure failure can have a range of potential causes, such as ageing infrastructure.
    • Power Outage- A power outage can impact both treatment, distribution systems, or groundwater pumping. An extended power outage could have more severe implications.
    • Water Treatment Plant Outage- Water treatment plant outages can occur from individual unit process failures. Ongoing maintenance and asset management is therefore key.
    • Source Contamination- Source contamination, whether in surface water supplies or groundwater, can have a wide range of causes. This in turn can impact the ability of existing processes to treat water to potable quality. 
    • Supply Chain- Supply chain disruption can impact the ability to maintain operations, whether associated with chemicals used to treat and disinfect the water, or in the ability to access supplies and equipment such as spare parts. Supply chain issues can be local or global.
    • Malevolent Acts- Malevolent acts, including physical disruption, water quality impacts, or cybersecurity can pose potential threats to water supply, treatment, and delivery systems.
    • Staff Turnover- Ongoing training is critical for maintaining institutional knowledge in the water system. 

    The City is seeking community feedback regarding mitigation of these threats, and identification of any additional supply vulnerabilities not described here.

    comment
    Reply notification settings
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
  • Water Supply Values

    about 2 months ago
    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    What values are most important when considering supply options?

    A wide range of factors can be considered when comparing water supply strategies and defining the "portfolio" of individual supply sources to meet Aspen's future needs.  Currently, the City's water comes from Maroon and Castle Creeks.  In the future, water supply can be augmented with the areas on this photo in yellow.  


    Potential considerations when looking at future supply can include: 

    • Water Quality 
    • Instream Flow Protection 
    • System Reliability (Year-round) and Robustness
    • Emergency Supply Reliability
    • Energy Footprint
    • Climate Resilience
    • Adaptability / Ability to Phase In
    • Operational Complexity
    • Unit Supply Cost

    The City is seeking community feedback regarding the relative importance of each of these considerations in guiding water supply decisions, and identification of any additional considerations not described here.

     

    comment
    Reply notification settings
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
  • Issues

    5 months ago
    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    What issues do you see today and into the future regarding Aspen's effort to provide a safe and reliable water supply or water quality?

    comment
    Reply notification settings
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
  • Values

    5 months ago
    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    What community values require consideration during the 50-year planning process?

    comment
    Reply notification settings
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel