On November 20, 2023, with an appreciation to the many Larimer County landowners and community stakeholders who provided valuable input over the last year, the city of Thornton formally submitted a new application asking Larimer County to approve a permit to build a buried water pipeline for transporting water to Thornton. The Thornton Water Project will deliver an average of 14,000-acre feet of high-quality water Thornton owns in the Water Supply and Storage Company System (WSSC) to its residents. This project is critical to ensure water supply reliability and drought resiliency, to provide drinking water that is protective of public health, safety and welfare, to support the availability of housing and to meet municipal water demands in the city through 2065.
After one-on-one meetings with many local landowners and community stakeholders, two public informational meetings, and gathering additional input through surveys, Thornton staff listened and learned about concerns regarding impacts that the construction of a pipeline might create in Larimer County. This extensive engagement resulted in several significant changes to the pipeline alignment previously proposed in 2018 which Larimer County denied.
The new pipeline alignment through Larimer County is 16.6 miles shorter than the previous alignment applied for in 2018.
The new pipeline alignment includes a pump station location on private property owned by the Water Supply and Storage Company (WSSC) which is just over 2 miles north of the location proposed in 2018. This new location is located further away from residential development and recognizes the sentiment expressed by Larimer County residents for the pump station to be located on private non-residential property.
Larimer County residents expressed in a survey that the pipeline construction impact as few private properties as possible. The new 10.4-mile-long alignment proposed for the pipeline crosses just 22 properties (two of which are agricultural properties owned by Thornton) in rural Larimer County. Thornton communicated with these property owners for their insight into the best possible location for constructing on their property and followed their recommendations in developing the pipeline alignment.
Traffic corridors, such as Douglas Road and others, identified as important to avoid by Larimer County residents have been excluded from the new alignment proposal.
Larimer County asked Thornton to consider co-locating its pipeline alignment with the already approved route for the pipeline for the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP). Thornton’s new permit submission proposes 4.5 miles of the pipeline to be constructed alongside the NISP alignment.
Thornton’s new proposed alignment provides Larimer County and residents with precise locations for the pipeline and all appurtenances (i.e. low profile valves, vents, etc.) so that they can have a clear understanding of potential impacts from the project.
Specifically, Thornton staff participated in two open houses in Larimer County, and hired a third-party consultant to conduct a survey which was sent to the over 400 property owners within the project area. Thornton also heard concerns about perceived impacts the Thornton Water Project might have on the Poudre River. An educational component was added to the open houses and all outreach to inform attendees that the project creates no new impacts to flows on the Poudre River. The water Thornton owns is stored in reservoirs and has come out of the Poudre River in the same location and same amount since the 1890’s.