10:00am

Fri July 5, 2013
Wildfires

More Federal Funding To Protect Northern Colorado Water

Mitigation around Greeley’s water supply has been costly. So far, the tab for keeping Greeley’s water supply clear of soot and ash is around $1.2 million.

That number shouldn’t go any higher, thanks to a bill Congress passed this spring to fund the protection of threatened water sources in Colorado.

Greeley has been reimbursed another $350,000 in federal funds for water mitigation after the High Park and Hewlett Gulch fires. The Greeley Tribune reports that brings the city’s total reimbursement to $576,000.

The mitigation process involves dumping straw and mulch from helicopters to keep ash and debris from slipping off scorched hillsides and into the water supply. Greeley water officials expected the mitigation to be expensive – more than $1,000 per acre.

Last fall, the three water districts in Weld and Larimer counties, and the cities of Greeley and Fort Collins agreed to share the cost of keeping water in the Poudre River clean. Stakeholders paid a combined total of $4 million to treat the most damaged areas – only about half of what was needed.

This year the rest of the tab – about $7 million – will be picked up by the federal government. Fort Collins and the tri-districts are also being reimbursed.