Lower Poudre River Operations
The City has numerous water rights below the water treatment plants
. Pumping water back to the plants would be cost-prohibitive and inefficient. While the water can be used to satisfy return flows to the river, Greeley chooses to put it to beneficial use before returning it to the river. Greeley instead chooses to store those water rights closer to town to use as non-potable supply.
The non-potable program
puts this water to use for irrigation of parks, golf courses, large campus-type industry (if feasible) and a few homeowner's associations. The use of non-potable water allows keep Greeley to limit using precious drinking water from being used on large turf areas.
Gravel Lake Storage
The purpose of gravel lakes is to store non-potable water supplies for later release to the Poudre River to replace depletions to local river systems from wells used for irrigation and historic return flows obligations associated with conversion of agricultural water rights to municipal use.
Mined out gravel pits are lined and used for water storage. A vertical wall is build to cut off groundwater flow into the gravel lake or a clay line interior is placed against the wall of the pit.
Poudre Ponds storage facility is located in north Greeley between 25th and 35th Avenues between F and O Streets. The City purchased the Poudre Ponds parcel from in 2000, and developed 1500 acre- feet of lined water storage. The storage vessel is a mined-out gravel pit with an 8,500 foot long and 55 feet deep slurry wall liner. Greeley uses this storage to make releases of required augmentation (replacement) water and to meet return flow requirements. Poudre Ponds is also used as a “Fishing Is Fun” site.
The Overland Trail Reservoir project is located near Greeley’s Bellvue Water Treatment Plant and the Fort Collins-Loveland Water District, the North Weld County Water District, and the East Larimer County Water District (Districts’) Soldier Canyon Filter Plant. Greeley and the Districts’ propose to store water available from transbasin and tributary water rights in a series of lined gravel pit reservoirs to be constructed adjacent to the Poudre River on both sides of Taft Hill Road. Releases from the reservoirs would be exchanged to Greeley’s or the Districts’ treatment plants or other structures, used to meet downstream return flow obligations, or to augment out-of-priority uses of water. Greeley and the Districts’ may also construct pumps and pipelines to connect the storage directly to the water treatment plants.
Greeley Irrigation Company- Number 3 Ditch
It is a 13-mile ditch that begins west of 71st Avenue and ends just south of the Weld County Airport at Fern Avenue.
The Number 3 Ditch played a major role in the development of Greeley. The early settlers of Union Colony built the Number 3 Ditch to bring water to the City. The Number 3 Ditch began operation in June of 1870 and was the first completed ditch in the Greeley area. Community leaders like Nathan Meeker and Benjamin Eaton helped get the project organized, but the ditches were a collaborative effort with all citizens working to begin a community water system. The estimated population of Greeley was 400 at the time and the cost was $6,333 for initial construction.
The City of Greeley owns part of the Number 3 Ditch along with Greeley Irrigation Company shareholders. The ditch historically irrigated 3,500 acres and currently irrigates approximately 1,500 acres. Today, water taken from the ditch is used for agricultural irrigation, augmentation from water well depletions, and as part of the City of Greeley's non-potable irrigation program for parks and golf courses.
In 2009, a rebuilt and computerized headgate was installed at the western end of the ditch.