Ketring gets another shot at water

Posted 11/12/13

Ketring Park neighbors are celebrating news that Denver Water is filling the lake with water straight out of a nearby fire hydrant. “I say we all …

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Ketring gets another shot at water

Posted

Ketring Park neighbors are celebrating news that Denver Water is filling the lake with water straight out of a nearby fire hydrant.

“I say we all shout it out for Larry (Borger), Denver Water and city of Littleton for arriving at such an unusual yet wonderful solution,” Alicia Rudnicki wrote in an email to her neighbors. “Maybe we all should visit the lake … with champagne in hand.”

This action follows an unsuccessful attempt to fill Ketring Lake via the High Line Canal in September. Stacy Chesney, spokesperson for Denver Water, explains that the day that effort began, Sept. 11, was the same day heavy rainfall and eventual flooding began along the Front Range.

“We had to stop running the canal the next day because of the significant flooding and damage to portions of the canal, so Ketring Lake never filled,” she said. “The damage to the canal also prohibited us from running the canal again after the storms subsided. And now the forebay, which supplies water to the canal, has been drained for the winter.”

The city persisted, and the agreement to run the potable water from the canal was reached. It will cost about $3,900, the same amount the city normally pays to fill the lake from the canal. It was expected to begin Nov. 12 and take 10 to 15 days.

Chesney says Denver Water plans to have the canal completely repaired in time for next spring.

“Additionally, our reservoirs are not full at this time, but we are in a much better position heading into this winter with system-wide reservoir levels at 96 percent full,” she said.

After Denver Water took over Littleton’s service in 1970, it agreed to keep Ketring Lake full, to the extent possible, with water channeled from canal. But after several years of drought conditions, Denver Water decided to let the canal stay empty this year, and the lake was drying up.

As part of a long-term solution, the city paid $18,000 for a study on the feasibility of drilling to access underground aquifers. Charlie Blosten, director of public works, requested $500,000 in the 2014 budget to cover design, testing and construction of a well that would not only fill the lake but water up to 30 acres at Ketring Park, Littleton Museum, Bemis Library, Gallup Park and Gallup Gardens. He expected to need at least that much more in the 2015 budget to complete design of pumping and irrigation systems.

Council rejected that request.

“I have a huge concern with the price tag,” said Mayor Debbie Brinkman during a Sept. 10 study session. “I don’t want to just let it sit there and get messy and icky. … But I don’t think Ketring Lake is sustainable, and I don’t think drilling a well for $1 million is a good idea right now.”

She suggested using the money for a master plan of the area, which might include “repurposing” the lake.

A short-term solution to divert water from Englewood’s McClellan Reservoir in Douglas County has been proposed by former City Manager Larry Borger, who lives in the Ketring neighborhood. Englewood is legally obligated to let Littleton have 35 acre-feet of water a year to replace evaporated water in Cooley Lake, which is south of South Platte Park. But Littleton only uses about 19 acre-feet a year, so Borger feels the city has a right to do whatever it wants with the other 16.

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