Town of Telluride

Old mining areaResource Engineering has provided the Town of Telluride with water rights planning and water resource engineering services since 1990. Key tasks associated with our on-going services include: municipal water supply master planning, water right engineering and litigation support, ground water evaluations, storm water management planning, hydraulic structure design and water rate studies.

Water Supply Master Planning

RESOURCE assisted the Town of Telluride by developing a Water Supply Master Plan concluding with a recommendation that the Town secure additional water supplies. The Master Plan reviewed the Town’s existing physical and legal sources of supply and compared supply to projected demand. Numerous alternatives for developing additional supplies were evaluated based on criteria that included physical and legal yield, water quality, lifecycle cost, and environmental considerations. The recommended alternative was to incorporate the historic Bridal Veil basin high elevation storage and collection system into the municipal water system. The recommendation was adopted and the Town has actively moved to implement the plan. In 2006 the Town passed a $10,000,000 bond issue to finance design and construction of the recommended new water treatment plant.

Mountain lakeWater Right Evaluations

In 1992 the Town of Telluride received multiple mining, milling and industrial water rights from the Idarado Mining Company as part of Idarado’s CERCLA litigation settlement. These rights formed the basis for the legal water supply recommended in the Water Supply Master Plan. RESOURCE developed water rights strategies and conducted engineering analyses required to change the mining, milling and industrial water rights to municipal use. The analyses were unique and complex including quantification of historical milling consumptive use and historical draft of reservoir water. With numerous objectors to the case, RESOURCE provided settlement support and, ultimately, litigation support in the case. The case was successfully settled on the eve of the trial.

Ground Water Evaluation

The San Miguel River, which flows through the Town of Telluride, is characterized by losing and gaining reaches that support valuable riparian wetlands. The Town was concerned that permanent ground water pumping from redevelopment on adjacent building sites could detrimentally impact flows to the riparian wetlands. The Town was also concerned about the impact that lowering the water table would have on nearby historic structures. RESOURCE conducted a ground water investigation for the Town to evaluate potential pumping impacts. Ultimately, RESOURCE crafted a ground water development ordinance for the Town that sets forth guidelines that must be followed when developing structures that penetrate below the water table.

Water pipelinesStorm Water Management

Historically, storm runoff from the unpaved residential streets in the Town caused detrimental sediment loading to the San Miguel River. RESOURCE performed a storm drainage investigation for the Town that included recommendations for re-routing drainage, paving to reduce sediment loading and development of sedimentation basins. The Town has implemented these recommendations and significantly reduced sediment loading to the river.

Hydraulic Structure Design

RESOURCE continues to provide the Town with design and construction management services for the rehabilitation of the historic Bridal Veil basin water system. Work has included replacement of the outlet works at Blue Lake and systematic replacement of the Blue Lake pipeline. The work is unique as it is located in the remote, environmentally sensitive Bridal Veil basin at elevations between 10,000 and 12,000 feet. The system will be the raw water supply for the Town’s new water treatment plant and will continue to serve the historic Bridal Veil Hydroelectric Power Station, operating at a head of 2,000 feet.

Construction of a water pipelineRate Studies

RESOURCE conducted a water rate study for the Town. The Study found that the Town’s existing and projected revenue stream is adequate. However, it recommended implementation of an increasing rate block structure to encourage water conservation. The Town adopted the recommended rate structure.