We Get It
Denver Water understands the importance of being responsible stewards of the environment — so much so that it has included that task in its mission statement. Denver Water participates in numerous activities and programs to reduce its impact on the environment, including, among others:
The Climate Registry
Denver Water recently earned a spot on The Climate Registry’s list of Climate Registered organizations, one of many steps the utility is taking to reduce its impact on the environment.
The Climate Registry is a nonprofit organization that operates a greenhouse gas registry, supported by states, provinces, territories and tribes throughout North America. Currently, 141 organizations are Climate Registered.
To become Climate Registered, Denver Water had to measure its electric, natural gas and fuel consumption, among other data, have it verified by a third party and report it to The Climate Registry.
Taking stock of greenhouse gas emissions helps Denver Water look at cost-effective ways to reduce its environmental impact. It also helps Denver Water prepare for possible greenhouse gas emission regulations, which are being considered at the state and federal level.
While Denver Water asks its customers to conserve water, it also does what it can to cut back on its own water consumption. A number of conservation measures are now routine at Denver Water, including promoting water-wise landscapes with its Xeriscape garden, automating its irrigation schedules to adjust watering times based on precipitation, cutting back on water used in its administration building’s cooling tower and recycling water used to clean fleet vehicles.
Denver Water has a long tradition of operating a highly efficient water delivery system. Seven hydroelectric generating plants with a combined capacity of 25 megawatts are employed as water is collected in the mountains and conveyed to the city. In most years, Denver Water adds enough clean, renewable hydropower to the local power grid to equal or exceed electricity needs for operating its potable water distribution system. This generation averages about 50,000 megawatt-hours per year.
Denver Water has replaced electric motors with natural gas motors in its pump stations, and has installed other equipment and techniques to make the pump stations more energy-efficient.
In 2010, Denver Water recycled 54 tons of mixed paper and cardboard, 33 tons of electronic waste and 3.5 tons of comingled materials. We also recycle a variety of other products, such as fluorescent bulbs, batteries and various metals.
There are several hybrid vehicles in Denver Water’s fleet, and it plans to include biodiesel as a significant part of its truck fuel supply.
Denver Water’s Green Team, a grassroots effort lead by Denver Water staff, is focused on making Denver Water more “green.” The Green Team’s initiatives include overseeing Denver Water’s greenhouse gas inventory, pursuing small-scale energy efficiency projects, educating its workforce on green practices, advancing the recycling program and enhancing water use efficiency on its properties, among other projects.
Watershed Protection/Forest Stewardship
Denver Water works closely with a number of resource agencies, including the Colorado Division of Wildlife, to manage water flows to maintain a viable habitat for fish and other wildlife, while maintaining a healthy environment in its watershed. Denver Water has led and participated in several efforts to maintain healthy forests in its watersheds. After the 2002 Hayman Fire, Denver Water worked with the Colorado State Forest Service to plant thousands of trees on its property to prevent erosion and to keep sediment from flowing into the rivers and its reservoirs.
Four-Mile Creek and Wetland Restoration Project
Denver Water has partnered with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado Open Lands, Colorado Division of Wildlife and Park County to reestablish five miles of the natural meander in Four-Mile Creek as a source water protection project. Denver Water currently is working on a 90-acre wetland restoration project adjacent to the Four-Mile Creek improvement.
South Platte Forum
Denver Water participates in the South Platte Forum, a collection of agencies that meet annually to discuss topics that affect the South Platte River, including water law, recreation, environmental concerns and other subjects.
South Platte Protection Plan
Denver Water also participates in the South Platte Protection Plan, a guiding document that helps agencies protect the river’s history, fisheries, geology, recreation, scenery and wildlife.
Climate Change Committees
Denver Water is an active participant in the climate change adaptation community. Some of the agencies Denver Water works closely with include:
- American Metropolitan Water Association
- Western Urban Water Coalition
- Water Utility Climate Alliance
- Colorado Water Conservation Board’s Climate Change Technical Team
- Joint Front Range Climate Change Vulnerability Study’s Climate Change Technical Team
- Rocky Mountain Climate Organization’s Water Adaptation Committee