(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Strains on the state’s water supply remain the community’s top concern when weighing the possibility of adding 3,200 acres southeast of Colorado Springs.
La Plata Communities spearheads the proposed Amara project and heard from the public at a Colorado Springs City Council town hall held on Tuesday, Oct. 25.
Amara is bounded on three sides by the City of Fountain and does not share a boundary with the City of Colorado Springs. Fountain City leaders had an interest in annexing the land, but only before it grew to 3,200 acres.
“During this mega-drought, are we really in a position to support neighboring communities as well,” a Colorado Springs community member said.
The City of Fountain was originally the top location for the Amara project, but Fountain cannot provide the water it needs.
“We had to sit back and say, not just from a water perspective, but a whole infrastructure project, how would we deal with all this?” Todd Evans, Fountain’s Deputy City Manager said.
Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) is proposing an ordinance that could green-light the project. The ordinance would reserve 130% of the water needed for Colorado Springs before it can support Amara.
“Our integrated water resource plan has several projects that we are working on towards long-term water security for our city,” Jenny Bishop, CSU’s long-term water planer said, “Acquiring additional water rights down the Arkansas Valley is one aspect of that.”
CSU can currently provide 95,000 acre-feet of treated water, which is well above a three-year average demand of 75,000, but CSU needs consumer feedback before Colorado Springs City Council approval.
La Plata Communities is proposing to pay $65 million in fees to help develop future water systems.
“CSU is the only entity with the capability of providing full utility service to this property,” Doug Quimby, President of La Plata Communities said, “This project at full build, which is not for 25 to 30 years, will use 3,507 acre-feet of water.”
Community members at the town hall raised concerns that the addition of nearly 10,000 new homes, and potentially two million square feet of commercial space in Amara would be a drain on water resources in Colorado Springs.
“If there are no resources in the nearby area, perhaps it needs to be re-planned and relocated,” a Colorado Springs community member said.
Water wasn’t the only concern raised, both Colorado Springs and Fountain community members discussed public safety and traffic impacts.
If the project is approved, La Plata Communities would be responsible for building everything in the master plan community.
As water concerns remain front and center, CSU is asking the community to weigh in on the proposed water ordinance with a survey.
Colorado Springs City Council expects to take final action on December 13th.