After completing a long-term planning process with the 1996 Integrated Resource Plan, Denver’s Board of Water Commissioners issued a Board policy statement that stated Denver Water would serve to "build-out" all of the uses within its service area, consisting of the City and County of Denver and 76 suburban distributors.
Still, questions remained. What would happen to the growth in regions outside that service area? Did Denver Water have an obligation to those regions? If no such obligation existed, what would be the Board’s policy on the water needs of those rapidly growing areas?
To address those questions, the Board issued a document called the Cooperative Actions with Metropolitan Water Suppliers Outside the Board's Service Area. In that document, the Board said it has no service obligation outside its defined service area, and that it has no plans to expand the service area or to assume responsibility for water service outside that service area.
The Board did, however, indicate that it would review and consider any proposed "cooperative action" that regions outside its service area may bring. For the Board to consider a proposed cooperative action favorably, the proposal should:
- provide significant water and financial benefit to the Board;
- minimize the Board’s regulatory, financial, legal and political risks;
- limit the Board’s obligation to the customers of the proposing agency to a particular amount of water;
- assure that the proposing agency will implement an effective water conservation program in its service area;
- ensure that the proposing agency will pursue available non-potable reuse options to maximize the efficient use of water within its service area;
- consolidate water supply proposals initiating from the same geographic region or sub-region;
- foster environmental protection;
- and demonstrate an effort by the proposing entity to gain acceptance of the proposal from those outside the Denver-metro area that might be impacted by the proposal.
The Board made clear in its policy that the water supplier, not the Board, is responsible for water service to areas outside the Board's service area, and the water supplier, not the Board, must take leadership and responsibility for any proposed project.
Since the Board issued its cooperative action policy, Denver Water staff has discussed future possibilities for cooperative actions with suburban water suppliers in the south, northwest and northeast regions, Summit County, Grand County, Eagle County and the city of Aurora.