Posts Tagged ‘water system’

Faces behind the tap: A photo year in review

Take a journey through the water system and meet some of the 1,100 experts working day and night to keep the water flowing.

Jessica Mahaffey jumping for joy at Williams Fork Reservoir

Jessica Mahaffey, Denver Water’s marketing specialist, back at Williams Fork Reservoir where she grew up as a caretakers daughter.

By Travis Thompson

The best part of my job is going behind the scenes with experts across hundreds of different specialties to help tell the story of Denver Water.

I’ve gone underground with crews upgrading the water distribution system, battled a blaze with first responders during a multi-alarm fire and even hit the slopes with scientists planning for climate change.

While each piece is unique, the one constant is the dedicated and experienced employees behind each story.

With more than 1,100 professionals working around the clock, there’s a good chance you’re more connected to these experts than you think. A parent at your child’s school, someone in your book club or even a relative may be part of the Denver Water family.

As 2016 comes to an end, we’re taking a look back at these water pros in action, working hard to ensure you’ve had a clean and reliable drinking supply this year — and for many more to come.

Who knows, you may even recognize a face or two.


Rain drops keep falling in my barrel

Legalization of rain barrels saves water while teaching us how to operate our own water systems.

By Jimmy Luthye and Jamie Reddig

In case you haven’t heard, rain barrels are now legal in Colorado. As of Aug. 10, 2016, Coloradans can use up to two 55-gallon rain barrels per household.

Now, rain barrels certainly won’t solve everything when it comes to Colorado’s water supply gap. They simply can’t store enough water to make a huge difference. But every drop counts in a geographic area with a climate as unpredictable as Colorado’s.

And just as important as the water saved is the education rain barrels provide. Indeed, using rain barrels equates in many ways to managing and operating your very own, fun-sized water system, complete with rooftop watersheds, downspout rivers and tunnels, barrels-turned-reservoirs and garden hose pipelines.

Check out our infographic to illustrate the metaphor and show how you can learn to manage a water system of your own. And for even more information about how to get started, the Colorado Division of Water Resources has you covered.

Now all we need is some more rain!



Do you have a rainy day fund?

Soon you can: Law allowing households to collect 110 gallons of rain headed to Gov.’s office.

Recently passed legislation will soon allow for small scale residential collection of rain from rooftops into barrels like the one pictured here. Photo: Roger Mommaerts, Flickr Creative Commons

Recently passed legislation will soon allow for small-scale residential collection of rain from rooftops into barrels like the one pictured here. Photo: Roger Mommaerts, Flickr Creative Commons

By Travis Thompson

A “rainy day fund” has new meaning in Colorado after the state Senate passed House Bill 1005 on April 1, a measure allowing people up to two 55-gallon rain barrels per household.

Forget the traditional notion of using a rainy day fund to tap into a savings account for an unforeseen and unwanted expense. Soon Coloradans will be able to use a rainy day to build up their personal water supply and use it during dry spells.

Believe it or not, this has been a much debated topic, as Joey Bunch, Denver Post reporter explains in this video.

The divide on rainwater collection was never more evident than in 2015, when the rain barrels bill was first introduced to the legislature, only to die in the state Senate.

But that wasn’t the case this year. After a successful trip through the state House on March 4 and then the state Senate, this bipartisan bill is now heading to Gov. Hickenlooper to be signed into law.

“The bill embodies Denver Water’s vision for overall urban water efficiency, which includes using the most appropriate water source for each water use,” said Jim Lochhead, Denver Water CEO/manager. “This is the type of thinking and action that we’ve urged throughout the Colorado Water Plan and in the state legislature.”

Rain barrels aren’t the sole answer to Colorado’s water supply gap. In fact, collecting 110 gallons of rainwater will not supply a homeowner with enough water to irrigate a typical landscape — sprinkler systems alone can end up applying 700 gallons of water a day for a 4,500 square-foot yard.

But that doesn’t mean this water is insignificant. Every drop maximized from the sky is a drop saved. Your water utility doesn’t need to store, treat and pump it to your house, and it remains in the river for other uses.

And just as important, those who use rain barrels will gain a greater understanding for what it takes to collect and store water by managing their own small-scale water system.

Rooftops will become miniature watersheds, and the rain will be diverted through downspouts into the barrels for storage — similar to how Denver Water collects and stores water in mountain reservoirs. Homeowners will learn to balance out supply and demand to appropriately manage the water collected.

And, just like in our system, there will need to be upkeep. Barrels will need to be cleaned, and valves, hoses and nozzles maintained and upgraded overtime.

“These types of efforts are an important step in connecting urban customers to their source in ways never experienced before,” said Lochhead.

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