PUEBLO, CO, Aug. 23, 2011 -- Major construction began this week on Colorado's historic Southern Delivery System (SDS), one of the largest water supply projects under way in the western United States.
The SDS project will serve the southern Colorado communities of Colorado Springs, Pueblo West, Fountain, and Security. With the ultimate capacity to deliver up to 96 million gallons per day (MGD), SDS will provide a stable supply of water for decades to come.
Starting in 2016, SDS will transport water from Pueblo Reservoir through about 60 miles of underground pipeline. The project's first phase also includes three pump stations and a water treatment plant. Work on the SDS connection to Pueblo Dam and raw-water pipeline construction in El Paso County began this year. The approved budget for phase I of construction is $880 million (in 2009 dollars). Future phases will include constructing a terminal storage reservoir and exchange reservoir, as well as expanding pumping and water treatment capacity.
"This is one of the largest water projects to be built in Colorado in decades," said Jerry Forte, Colorado Springs Utilities' chief executive officer. "SDS is an investment in our community -- one that will repay large dividends. Water is vital for our residents, and for businesses and new industries to prosper."
Nearly 20 years in the making, SDS was developed out of Colorado Springs Utilities' 1996 Water Resource Plan. Hundreds of options were studied and SDS was identified as the most dependable, cost-effective and environmentally responsible solution. In 2001, the SDS partnership between the communities of Colorado Springs, Fountain and Security was formed, and Pueblo West became a partner in 2008.
From 2001 through 2010, the SDS partners completed environmental reviews, obtained required permits and secured agreements with the city of Pueblo and Pueblo County to build the pipeline.
SDS construction is scheduled through 2016, resulting in an estimated $127.6 million in earnings to El Paso County contractors and $35.5 million to Pueblo County contractors. A number of regional businesses have earned contracts to perform initial work on the project.
"As we make this essential investment in our community's future, we are pleased that construction will result in creating jobs and a much needed boost to the regional economy," said John Fredell, SDS Program Director.