Making use of the hilly terrain and the natural topography of the South Platte River valley, Denver Water uses gravity to provide water to approximately 60 percent of its potable water customers. The remaining 40 percent rely on pump stations to deliver them water.
Pump stations fall into two different categories. The first type lifts water from lower elevations to fill treated water reservoirs at various high points around town. From there either gravity takes over to supply customers downhill or it may be pumped uphill to yet another reservoir. For other areas where reservoirs aren’t an option, booster pump stations help ensure adequate pressures are maintained at all times.
Denver Water has 18 potable, three recycled water and two raw water pump stations in various locations throughout the distribution system, with a capability of pumping more than 1 billion gallons. Distribution-system operators don’t use all of the 124 pumps in the system at the same time, rather they cycle them on an off based on the need. Some pump stations will always have pumps running while others may only be needed in the height of the summer water-use season. There are even pumps that automatically increase and decrease with shifts in water demand and many stations in the system can pump to two different elevations.