Integrated Water Resource Plan

Integrated Water Resource Plan

The Integrated Water Resource Plan (IWRP) is a long-term strategic plan for providing a reliable, sustainable water supply to Utilities' customers in a cost-effective manner. It addresses a range of possible conditions within Utilities' service area based on a 50-year horizon. It sets policy level direction for Utilities to follow in order to meet stated goals. 

Read the IWRP Report, which was approved at the Feb. 22, 2017 Utilities Board meeting.

Providing and maintaining a dependable water supply for Colorado Springs residents and businesses is one of our community’s greatest challenges. Continuous, long-term water planning is the reason Colorado Springs has an excellent and reliable water system today that supports our economy and quality of life.

As stewards of our community’s water system and the environment, it’s our responsibility to consider all impacts to water supply and distribution just as we did in 1996 when we completed our last strategic water plan. The recommendations from that plan included conservation efforts, non-potable water development, existing infrastructure improvements and the Southern Delivery System, a new major water delivery system. Those recommendations are now almost fully implemented.

Since the 1996 plan, we have experienced drought, fires and greater demands on our water resources. Additionally, future impacts on our water system remain uncertain. So in 2014, we began the next multi-year planning process to address these and future challenges. This planning effort, aptly named the Integrated Water Resource Plan or IWRP, will look 50+ years into the future with the goal of ensuring clean, safe and reliable water service for our customers.

To aid in the development of the IWRP, we used both technical and public processes with the following planning factors serving as the starting point:

  • Climate variability
  • Population growth and demand uncertainty
  • Water rights challenges
  • Aging infrastructure
  • Environmental risks
  • Federal and state regulations

Technical process

3 phases of IWRP technical process

The plan was developed in three phases and is now being implemented:

Phase 1: Assess baseline conditions and identify issues, risks and opportunities

Phase 2: Quantify impacts of risks and identify key vulnerabilities

Phase 3: Evaluate benefits of potential options and finalize a strategic plan

Through the IWRP, we've explored many potential options to reduce identified risks over a wide range of possible future conditions. These options  include new storage, conservation, infrastructure improvements, water acquisition and more. Much of this work has been informed by public input.

Public process

During the course of the planning effort, we engaged our community through customer opinion surveys designed to assess customers’ values, customer focus groups and public meetings, meetings with stakeholders and civic groups, and input from our citizen’s advisory group. Collectively these techniques highlight multiple perspectives by allowing us to gauge our community’s understanding of water issues and challenges, and to determine what our community values most regarding their water resources. This information in turn plays an integral and collaborative role in shaping our community’s water conversation.

The project was completed in 2017. By working proactively, we are able to ensure the reliable and safe water supply our community has come to expect and rely on. 

Contact us to provide input or schedule a presentation for your community group or organization. You may also click here to view the IWRP stakeholder meetings that have taken place so far.