City to buy land for potential reservoir

Jul 19, 2017

The City of Aspen has two properties in Woody Creek under contract, to use for potential future water storage.
Credit Courtesy of City of Aspen

As it faces opposition to its water rights to build dams on Castle and Maroon creeks, the City of Aspen is now is under contract to buy land as an alternative site for a reservoir.

City manager Steve Barwick said the municipality is under contract on two properties in Woody Creek totaling about 63 acres. The price tag is $2.65 million and will eventually be charged to water customers. The city is also in talks with Elam Construction, which owns an adjacent gravel pit.

The city faces opposition from 10 organizations and people in water court after it filed to keep rights to build dams on Castle and Maroon creeks. Barwick said he hopes for a settlement that would involve moving those rights to this new location.

“We would not be abandoning any water rights,” he said. “We would be moving the water rights from one site to another.”

The due diligence process is underway, including an analysis of the geology of the site. Barwick said the city will present a settlement option to the opposing parties in early August.

First, Aspen City Council will discuss how much water the town needs at a meeting on Monday at 5 p.m.