Where Does Longmont Get Its Water?
Longmont has a varied and extensive portfolio of water rights that include decrees for pipelines, storage reservoirs, irrigation rights, and contract rights as well as conditional decrees and applications filed in Water Court for additional decrees.
Water Rights Inventory and Acquisition
Water Rights are acquired primarily through implementation of the Raw Water Requirement Policy. In 1964 the City Council adopted the Raw Water Requirement Policy. This policy provides the method whereby the City will acquire water rights in such quantity and of such quality as to provide a safe and reliable water supply for present and future water users under a wide range of hydrologic conditions. This policy provides the method in which the owners of properties with historic water rights insufficient to meet the requirements of the Raw Water Requirement Policy may satisfy the requirements in the policy by the payment of cash in lieu of water rights.
Future of Longmont's Water Supply
The Water Resources department is currently working on a number of projects that will ensure the City has enough water to meet demands. Current projects include:
Water Supply and Drought Management Plan
In an ongoing effort to inform residents and City Council about Longmont’s projected available water supply and demand, staff first began preparing a formalized Water Supply & Drought Management Plan during the drought of 2002. This plan has been annually reviewed and adopted by City Council since that time.
Statement of Historical Use of Water Rights
Raw Water Master Plan
Raw Water Requirement Policy
The Raw Water Requirement Policy can be found in Title 14, Public Services, Chapter 14.05 of the Municipal Code.
History of Longmont's Water Utilities
The first settlement in the present-day Longmont area was a trading fort built by Ceran St. Vrain and the Brent brothers in 1838. Settlers began to set up residences along the St. Vrain River, using stream water for their domestic needs. As the colony grew, a few individuals went into business hauling water from the streams which customers stored in large barrels or cisterns. A town pump was located in the center of town at the corner of 4th and Main Streets. On September 8, 1879, the 300 block of Main Street caught fire and was completely destroyed. The only water for fighting the fire came from the town pump and a bucket brigade that formed from the St. Vrain Creek. The fire led to the formation of the first fire fighting company in 1880. The fire of 1879 and the recognized need for a clean water supply were the impetus for developing a water system. On April 1, 1882, the Longmont taxpayers voted a $70,000 bond to build the first pressurized waterworks system.