Myths Versus Facts

  • Myth: Denver Water sells water to California and other states.

    Fact: Denver Water does not sell water to any other states. Denver Water is a nonprofit public utility responsible under law and contract for providing water to its customers in the Denver metropolitan area. The water of the Colorado River is divided among the seven states in the Colorado River Basin by an interstate compact, and Colorado is required under the compact to allow certain amounts of water to flow out of the state. Denver Water, however, does not control those flows. The Colorado Division of Water Resources, Office of the State Engineer, administers all water rights in the state.

  • Myth: Denver Water raises rates to make a profit. After all, selling water is what they do.

    Fact: Denver Water is a government entity funded by water rates, new tap fees and the sale of hydropower, not taxes. Water rates are designed to recover the costs of providing reliable, high-quality water service, which includes maintenance of the system’s more than 3,000 miles of distribution pipe — enough to stretch from Los Angeles to New York — and other assets such as reservoirs, pump stations and treatment plants, some of which are more than 100 years old.

  • Myth: The Denver Board of Water Commissioners are highly paid people accountable to no one.

    Fact: The mayor of Denver appoints Denver's five-member Board of Water Commissioners to staggered six-year terms. Although this has not happened in the past, the Mayor could remove a Water Commissioner for cause. Commissioners are paid a maximum of $600 annually ($25 per meeting) for their service — the same amount of money they have been paid since the current Denver Charter was adopted in 1959.

    The Board's purpose is to ensure a continuous supply of water to the people of Denver and its suburban customers. Among other duties, commissioners are responsible for setting water rates and monitoring the cost and maintenance of the system. The Board holds its public meetings generally twice a month.

  • Myth: Denver Water employees get free water.

    Fact: Denver Water employees pay the same rates for water as other customers.