Greeley: City Begins Water Dedication Discussion

When the City went through the process of updating its impact fees it became clear that water fees for residential development also needed to be reviewed. After hiring a consultant, Doug Jeavons of BBC, City staff scheduled a series of meetings with stakeholders (GARA, the HBA and the Water Board) to get input. Jeavons said the water dedication and cash-in-lieu study has three goals: 1) Evaluate the volume of water required; 2) Review and evaluate the cash equivalent value and 3) Compare Greeley to other communities.

Currently City regulations require three acre-feet of raw water per acre for new residential development. This is based on gross acres, which includes detention ponds, open space and rights-of-way. Developers must dedicate the historical water rights used to irrigate land being developed.

Water rights purchased from other farms that are not directly associated with proposed developments cannot be accepted unless they are Colorado-Big Thompson (C-BT) units. For developments requiring less than eight acre feet, cash-in-lieu of raw water rights may be accepted. The cash-in-lieu rate is established quarterly by the Water and Sewer Board and is based on the market price of C-BT water.

Note: The cost of C-BT water is going up. The price for an acre-foot of water was $8,000 a share a few years ago but the current rate is approximately $33,000. There is a cap on the number of C-BT shares the City can own. In addition, the City is limited as to many shares of C-BT it can own.

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