If you’ve been following our coverage of the July 20 flash flood in Poudre Canyon at Rustic, you may have seen our photo of the Poudre River running black with ash — see additional photos in this edition.
You may be wondering about the effect of flash flooding on our water supply, exacerbated by last year’s record-breaking Cameron Peak wildfires.
So we checked the City of Fort Collins website and here’s a partial listing of what they posted:
Water Supply Status
Cameron Peak Fire Burn Scar Flooding
Recent storm events along the Cameron Peak Burn Scar have created flash floods in the Poudre Canyon and other hazards, including flooding and debris along the Poudre Trail in town.
These storms have also reduced the quality of the water on the Poudre River to a point where it is not feasible to treat the water for our customers. We are fortunate to have two water sources and are able to rely on high-quality water from Horsetooth Reservoir while the Poudre is full of ash, sediment and debris. Customers should experience no change in drinking water quality or service. We will resume using Poudre River water when it is safe to do so.
We also contacted Jeff Stahla, Public Information Officer at Northern Water, and here’s what Jeff had to say:
Water suppliers in Northern Colorado have a diverse water portfolio including Horsetooth and other smaller reservoirs making local water supplies resilient and redundant.
Northern Water has continued to deliver high quality drinking water through the Colorado-Big Thompson Project to Horsetooth Reservoir, where municipal water providers such as Greeley and Fort Collins can treat it and deliver it to their water customers when the water quality of the Poudre River does not meet their standards.
Northern Water has joined Grand County as local sponsors for the federal Emergency Watershed Protection Program for recovery efforts from the East Troublesome Fire. Similar efforts are taking place for the Cameron Peak Fire by local sponsors. We have joined the Cameron Peak Fire recovery sponsors to lobby for additional federal and state funding to help the region recover from last year’s devastating wildfires.
There are many other areas in Northern Colorado that pull their water from many different sources. Check with your local municipality if you have questions about your area. Those of you on well water probably won’t be affected, but all this may serve as a reminder to have your well tested for harmful bacteria and other pollutants.
I hear from many of our readers regularly, requesting more information about living off-grid, specifically in getting safe water. In my case (currently without a well), I transport my water from the city of Fort Collins on a bi-weekly basis in portable 275-gallon tanks. The tanks are regularly cleaned and then the water is filtered at least two more times before we drink it. I don’t think it can be any cleaner — unless I boil it.
You can never be too safe with your water. The recent flash flood might be a reminder about how precious and delicate our river systems on the front range can be.
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