PUEBLO — As much as 100 million gallons a day of Arkansas River water trapped in a reservoir for southern Colorado and downriver states is about to take a left turn — to Colorado's biggest water project in decades.
Construction crews this week began work on the $2.3 billion Southern Delivery System. It is designed to pump water uphill and north from Pueblo Reservoir — through a 62-mile pipeline — to sustain Colorado Springs, which owns the rights to the river water, and other growing Front Range cities.
Environmental groups "are generally satisfied," as long as Colorado Springs live up to its commitments to ensure appropriate water levels in the Arkansas River above and below the reservoir, Trout Unlimited water project director Drew Peternell said.
Huge amounts of energy required to pump water uphill, however, looms as "a greenhouse gas issue," Peternell said. "We'd encourage them to consider renewable sources" of electricity, he said.