Water Where Does It Come From?

100 Real Estate Tips in 100 Days (Day 31)

By Larry D. McGee, The Berkshire Group, REALTORS

Denver receives 15-16 inches of precipitation annually.  Simply stated, that is not enough to support the Metro Denver population.   So where does the water come from?

The mostly green grass one sees gracing Denver area lawns and golf courses is known as Marion Bluegrass, and derivatives of Kentucky Bluegrass.  Denver is not the best place for this type of grass because the normal environment here is hostel to a grass that needs more than Denver's normal precipitation. So why does that type of grass prevail?

The average visitor is impressed with Denver's trees and park system.  Since the normal vegetation is Buffalo grass and cactus, how is it that there are Elm trees everywhere?

Those great big mountains looming in the west provide more than great skiing and summer camping. The Colorado Mountains serve as the headwater basins for four of the nation's great rivers, The Colorado, The Arkansas, The Rio Grande, and The Platte.  A complex series of dams and reservoirs,along with trans-mountain tunnels, serve to transfer millions of gallons of water to the Denver area.

While much of the water used by Denver originates in the Colorado River Headwaters, the Arkansas supplies much of the water used by Aurora and Colorado Springs.  The original costs of the enormous projects undertaken to provide water to Colorado's thirsty capital city were paid for in much cheaper dollars extending as far back as the 1920's.  IT is also true that those projects were built at a time when environmental issues were not the concern they are today.  Although there are good arguments to create another reservoir in the mountains west of Denver, environmental constraints and the extremely high costs have forced the Metro Denver area into conservation approaches. The norm today is small lots, requiring less grass.  Advances in plumbing have cut back on domestic use and Denver and its suburbs irrigate those broad expanses of parks much less than was the case 20 years ago.

Various estimates indicate that Metro Denver can support approximately 4,000,000 with the present average water supply.  Of course, since the water we use in Denver is mostly snowmelt, we pay particular attention to mountain snowfall.  Of course, the skiers love snow, but the more important story is heavy winter snow provides green lawns and drinking water in August.

Copyright Kristal Kraft ~ all Rights Reserved

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