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Deal assures Ruxton Creek won't dry up 

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click to enlarge Ruxton Creek
  • Ruxton Creek

The City of Manitou Springs has struck a deal with Colorado Springs Utilities to assure a minimum flow of water in Ruxton Creek, which had been threatened by the utility's plans to expand a pipeline.

Manitou City Council last week approved a 20-year agreement under which the city will pay CSU $1,950 annually to guarantee a seasonal flow of at least 0.25 cubic feet of water -- a little less than 2 gallons -- per second.

The agreement will be effective from April 1 to Oct. 31 each year, when creek flow is typically at its lowest, and when stagnant water can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus.

Negotiations over the creek have gone on for more than two years, since the utility announced plans to expand a pipeline that takes water from the creek, which enters Manitou at the top of Ruxton Avenue and empties into Fountain Creek downtown.

Springs Utilities owns most of the water in the creek and uses a pipeline to siphon off the water upstream of Manitou. Historically, there has been enough flow for some water to run down the creek, but plans to expand the pipeline has raised concern that the scenic waterway would run dry.

Under last week's agreement, Manitou retains its original right to 0.1 cubic feet of water per second, which will continue flowing down the creek. On top of that, CSU will guarantee a flow of another 0.15 cubic feet. The utility company will recapture the additional amount of water downstream, but Manitou will reimburse the utility for the cost of pumping the water back upstream to a water treatment plant.

"It's not a lot of water," said Fred Burmont, Manitou's city manager.

However, he added, "We feel it's a win-win."

-- Terje Langeland

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