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SOURCE WATER ASSESSMENT FOR CACHE LA POUDRE WATERSHED – INTRODUCTION

An EPA National Pilot

Click here to view a Table of Contents for the ‘CLP National Pilot Source Water Assessment’

The upper Cache la Poudre River is one important source of drinking water for communities located along the North Front Range of Colorado. The quality of the water resources of this watershed need to be protected.

The National Pilot Source Water Assessment for Cache la Poudre River is a Project to develop a ‘source water assessment’ for the portion of the Cache la Poudre watershed supplying water to the City of Fort Collins (Colorado) public water system.See our study area relative to Colorado. We created an aerial view of the assessment area from the south east.
Click here to view larger image

Aerial View

The Project was a national pilot sponsored by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the new federal Source Water Assessment Program and the Colorado Source Water Assessment and Protection Program, administered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The intent of the source water assessment and protection approach is prevention — to protect the quality of the source of drinking water supplies from contamination.

George Weber conducted the Project beginning in late 1998 through mid 2000 while he was Director of the Environmental Policy Analysis and Management Program (EPAM), Center for Community Development and Design (CCDD), University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Doug Bates, CCDD, assisted with data, map, and original webpage development. Weber worked closely with Ben Alexander, Source Water Program, Fort Collins Utilities.

Several Cache la Poudre stakeholders hope to see the assessment presented in these webpages expanded in geographic scope to include the entire watershed and transbasin diversions, and substantively to include water quality issues significant in the lower basin.

A source water assessment is a three step process:

  1. Delineation of Source Water Assessement Area — identifying the boundaries of the geographic area that will be assessed.
  2. Contaminant Source Inventory — identifying existing and possible future sources of contamination.
  3. Susceptibility Analysis — analyzing the possible threat contaminants identified in the inventory pose to the drinking water source.

The federal Source Water Assessment Program requires states to involve the public extensively as they develop and carry out their programs. Colorado’s Source Water Assessment and Protection Program strongly encourages public water systems and others undertaking source water assessment and protection at the watershed or community levels to involve stakeholders and the public in developing and carrying out their programs.

What follows is a description of how the Project accomplished each of the three technical steps and the results of each. Each section provides maps and other supporting material. The supporting material contains more information about lessons the Project team learned, detailed technical information, and links to data sources that, hopefully, will be useful to others developing a source water assessment for their sources of drinking water.

Since closure on progress on the source water assessment, several CLP water quality stakeholders have sponsored two additional projects having the ultimate goal of facilitating a broadly representative group of stakeholders to mobilize to protect and enhance CLP water quality. Weber has supported both efforts. See Drinking Water.

Proceed to Step 1: Delineation.

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