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Water availability in relation to planning policy and development

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Title:
Water availability in relation to planning policy and development a case study in Clear Creek County
Creator:
Roeder, Milly
Colorado Center for Community Development
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
iii leaves, 51 pages : charts, maps (including 1 folded) ; 28 cm

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Subjects / Keywords:
Water-supply -- Case studies -- Colorado -- Clear Creek County ( lcsh )
Water-supply ( fast )
Colorado -- Clear Creek County ( fast )
Genre:
Case studies. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Case studies ( fast )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 46-51).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Planning and Community Development, College of Design and Planning.
General Note:
"Funding for this project was made possible through a contract between the Department of Local Affairs, State of Colorado, and the Center for Community Development and Design."
Statement of Responsibility:
Milly Roeder ; [prepared for] Rural Community Assistance Program, Center for Community Development and Design, University of Colorado at Denver.

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Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
13503180 ( OCLC )
ocm13503180
Classification:
LD1190.A78 1985 .R625 ( lcc )

Full Text

II
I
WATER AVAILABILITY IN RELATION TO PLANNING POLICY AND DEVELOPMENT
envir A ill
ARCHIVES
LD
1190
A78
1985
R625
CASE STUDY N CLEAR CREEK COUNTY
'SIGN


WATER AVAILABILITY IN RELATION
A thesis presented to the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Planning and Community Development
Rural Community Assistance Program Center for Community Development and Design University of Colorado at Denver 1100 Fourteenth Street
Funding for this project was made possible through a contract between the Department of Local Affairs, State of Colorado, arid the Center for Community Development and Design, University of Colorado at Denver
PLANNING POLICY AND DEVELOPMENT
A CASE STUDY IN CLEAR CREEK COUNTY
MILLY ROEDER
U
December 1985
CU-Denver is an affirmative action/equal opportunity institution


The Earth does not Belong to Man Man Belongs to the Earth. This shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors. If we sell you land, you must remember that it is sacred, and you must teach your children that it is sacred, and that each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people.
- Chief Seattle
It is the articulation of the human presence, not the fact of human presence, that requires regulation.
- R. Peiser
The point is not to refrain from consuming more and more, but to consume less and less there is no other way of conserving the available reserves for future generations.
- Andre Gorz


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
My thanks go to Dan Schler, my professor and advisor, for his invaluable assistance.
I
ii


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Abstract................................................... 1
Chapter I
Introduction........................................... 3
Chapter II
Methodology............................................ 7
Chapter III
A. Problem Statement..................................10
B. Climate............................................17
C. Geology............................................19
D. Hydrologic Cycle...................................19
E. Groundwater........................................22
F. Insect Infestation of the Forest...................26
G. Land "Jse..........................................27
H. Population.........................................28
I. Education..........................................33
J. Summary............................................33
CHAPTER IV
Discussion.............................................34
CHAPTER V
Conclusion and Recommendations.........................37
Bib! iography...............................................46
List of Maps
Study Area Eastern Clear Creek County................ 6
Location Maps.......................................... 9
Hydrologic Cycle.......................................18
Groundwater............................................21
Eastern Clear Creek County.............................52


WATER AVAILABILITY IN RELATION TO PLANNING POLICY AND DEVELOPMENT
A CASE STUDY IN CLEAR CREEK COUNTY by
Mi 11y Roeder ABSTRACT
An increasing population in the mountainous areas of the Colorado Front Range appears to imperil the availability of sufficient water and seems to be accompanied by the importation of more affluence and new lifestyles, which may include greater water consumption than is generally assumed for rural populations. Although a vague awareness exists about the scarcity of water, there is a lack of knowledge about the amount of water available, the effect of social behavior, and of planning and development.
The focus of this study is on the eastern section of Clear Creek County, comprising the unincorporated subdivisions in the County's eastern planning sectors, East 1-70 and Bear Creek. Households in this area are supplied with water from private individual wells. Extreme climate, rugged terrain and water-poor geology make living in the area susceptible to water shortages. The area is attractive because of its mountain rural atmosphere and easy access to metropolitan Denver for work and amenities.
Clear Creek County is situated on the eastern slope of the Continental Divide and contains part of the headwaters of the South Platte River basin. The County is not included in the service area of the Denver Water Board and is not
1


a member of the Denver Regional Council of Governments.
This study explores the present environmental conditions in the County in general and in the study area in particular. After analysis of the findings, guidelines to the mitigation of the problem are developed.
Field research is used with direct observation of the environmental conditions and a comparison of the study area with two towns and their water resources. Information was obtained from the Census, government documents and pertinent literature as well as from discussions with numerous experts in the field and local residents.
The study's findings confirmed the assumption about the suburban affluent character of households in the study area, resulting in higher water consumption than in households in other rural areas. The analysis of the social data in relation to the environmental conditions in the County led to the conclusion to strongly recommend intensive government intervention. Guidelines consist of a countywide water management and conservation program which includes treating water availability as first priority in regard to any development. Amendments to land-use regulations, zoning rules, building and plumbing codes are recommended to be incorporated into planning policy. For a conservation program to be successful, majority participation of the local residents is necessary.
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CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION
The phenomenon of Americans increasingly wanting to live in rural areas is accompanied by the desire of many who are moving to the Colorado Front Range to combine it with life in the mountainous areas. The advantages lie in esthetic and economic values and are easily understood: rural mountain living provides a healthy, peaceful environment and an opportunity to avoid the negative attributes of crowdedness, air pollution, crime, high taxes and anomie as they are perceived to exist in the city and in the suburbs. The disadvantages of long commuting distances between mountain residences and places of work and amenities in the Denver metropolitan area seem to be taken in stride for the status this lifestyle provides and which can be afforded by increasing incomes.
Western technology since the Industrial Revolution enabled people to adapt the environment to their needs. Wherever people wished to live, the land and its resources could be either prepared or ignored. The importance of water as most essential to human life seems vaguely understood. Less knowledge seems to exist about the relationship between climate, geology, hydrology, and the resulting responsibilities for planners, local governments, developers and existing and future residents alike. Concern about an increasing population, introducing intensive water-using lifestyles into an environment with scarce water resources, which elsewhere throughout history was reserved to very low densities and appropriate adaptation, gave the impulses to explore these relationships and their effects on planning policy, the responsibilities of local government, developers and residents.
Focusing on the problems in the eastern section of Clear Creek County, such
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as large lots, individual wells, of which several ran dry on top of Hyland Hills, projected construction of an apartment complex in an area with little prospects for water except for a fault zone, and the desire to improve economic conditions in the County, should be of interest to planning objectives in similar areas.
This study intends to increase the awareness about planning for and living in mountain communities in semi-arid regions in relation to limited water resources. The methodology consists of a case study of the unincorporated subdivisions in eastern Clear Creek County, where water is supplied from unmetered private wells in comparison with two of the County's incorporated towns, Georgetown and Idaho Springs, which have public water supply and disposal systems (Figure 1). The population trends, water resources and consumption will be compared. Information for this study was derived from field research with direct observation of the natural environment in the study area and in the comparison area; from existing data in Census and government documents and pertinent literature; from discussions with planners, environmentalists, geologists, geophysicists, demographers, engineers, forest and health specialists; from listening to numerous local residents and from my own knowledge. Limited time and data base regarding perceptions on water availability and the relationship with human behavior and specific hydrogeology of the area added to the constraints. The extent of the problem of water resources in relation to population trends, planning and development and public policy was then analyzed.
The study revealed that population growth and development in the eastern section of the County is accompanied by a minimum requirement for larger lots in relation to groundwater yield. Outside water uses were freely admitted to by residents.
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An existing law against such uses does not appear to be enforced. Knowledge about the origin of water, reasons for resulting limitations, and the understanding of the relationship between water availability and planning seemed generally inadequate. Two kinds of aquifers, such as some alluvial fill and fractures and fault zones, provide the main source for groundwater in the study area. No minimum water yield requirements exist for permanent residences with private wells to ensure sufficient supply during low water yielding periods, nor does a water contingency plan exist for the event of a more severe emergency. Public water supply and disposal systems for the areas presently served by individual systems are considered unaffordable because of hard bedrock formations and long distances between lots. Although no groundwater contamination from leakage of sewage systems was reported, conditions hazardous to a safe groundwater yield exist throughout the study area.
The towns in the County are provided with metered (or soon to be metered) municipal water supply in contrast with the subdivisions in the study area, which are unmetered and rely entirely on individual private wells and disposal systems on relatively large lots.
The population in the study area was found to represent a higher percentage of income, home value and family size and was found to have attained a higher level of education than the populations in the comparison towns. In spite of the affluent status of the population, the same water consumption continued to be assumed for the households as for rural residents in the state of Colorado in general.
Other findings, which were not intenc ;d to be included in the study, were leapfrogging development of primarily residential usage in the eastern section of the County, adjacent to Jefferson County, appearing to cause a considerable economic drain on the County's tax base. Another, not previously planned, finding is a pervasive weariness among residents about lack of communication
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between county government and citizens. Insect infestation and clear cutting in the County's forest are causing surface water runoff.
The findings lead to the conclusion that resolute government intervention for an intensive countywide water conservation program is strongly recommended. Such a program would be implemented in three parts. In the first part of the program, water availability would be given first priority in the County's planning policy for development considerations before those of economics and esthetics. As an example to the population, all landscaping and water-using appliances and facilities in public buildings would be requested to convert to water conserving methods. The second part of the program would contain amendments to the present land use regulations, zoning rules, building and plumbing codes to secure a sufficient water supply for present and future residents. The last part would consist of an intensive water conservation program to be implemented by the residents of the County themselves inside their homes and would include majority participation of the County's citizens.
The many aspects of the problem of water availability in relation to planning and development will be elaborated in the third chapter, which will be preceded by an explanation of the methodology in the next chapter. The fourth chapter contains an analysis of the findings. An evaluation of the findings and recommendations for future planning in the County, concerning water availability and its implications for the County in general and for the study area in particular, are presented in the last chapter.
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CHAPTER II.
METHODOLOGY
The problem of water availability in relation to planning and development 1s universal in the United States and more so 1n the American West. To verify
my perceptions of these conflicts and because data base and time were limited, I
found it appropriate to conduct my investigation as field research with direct observation and exploration of the social setting in the natural environment.
The eastern section of Clear Creek County was selected as the focus of my study, because the particular conditions in hydrology, social status and water supply offer a challenge to appropriate planning and development. Environmental factors were explored, particularly in respect to the County's climate, geology and hydrology. A comparison of population trends in the study area and two of the County's incorporated towns, Georgetown and Idaho Springs, was conducted in relation to present planning policy. Because of its complexity, Colorado water law was not included in the study. The collected material was then analyzed in the relation of potential water availability against potential water demand by
existing and future residents. The analysis Included a calculation for water
availability from lowest recorded precipitation in the eastern parts of the County, equaling ten Inches.
The potential for water augmentation was investigated, including forest management, recharge area protection, infiltration galleries or tunnels, and land-use techniques. The potential for decreased water supply was examined in regard to geological conditions, climatic changes and population behavior concerning water consumption. The potential for changes in specific water consumption of the population in the study area was compared with the
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populations of two towns in the County in relation to planning policy and development.
At the time of the study, no reliable water readings existed for Georgetown, which is converting its water supply system from unmetered to metered. Because pertinent data will not be available in Georgetown before 1986, meter readings from Idaho Springs were also not used.
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CHAPTER III.
A. PROBLEM STATEMENT
The Rocky Mountain Front Range is an area in the southwestern and western United States that shares rapid population growth with other similar areas. It also shares their concerns about sufficient water supply. As part of a national trend, people are avoiding hectic metropolitan areas for a simpler and less expensive life along the fringes of these areas and in the rural countryside. Population growth is seen as inevitable but adds to the concerns about adequate water availability, especially in an area that by its natural setting is already waterscarce.
Clear Creek County (the County) is located in the Rocky Mountain Front Range (Figure 2). Its 397 square miles are surrounded by Summit County and the Continental Divide to the west, Gilpin County to the north, Jefferson County to the east, and Park County to the south. The County receives its share of growth from metropolitan Denver to the east. Historically, numerous water rights in the Plains have seniority to others in the County. The water supply for the City and County of Denver, 20 to 50 miles to the east, is fairly well secured through years of diligent acquisitions of water and with the construction of diversions and storage facilities by the Denver Water Board. Although it is one of 13 counties in the Front Range, and the South Platte River System and the Denver Basin are in part fed by headwaters originating there, the County is not included in the service area of the Denver Water Board and is not a member of the Denver Regional Council of Governments. A semi-arid climate, steep slopes, rugged mountain terrain and a hydrogeology that offers only poor water yield, comprise the natural parameter with which residents and local government have to deal as they have to consider accommodation of a growing population. Lack of
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efficient regional and state water management, the uncertainty of federal, state and local funds and enormous timelags between inception of plans for water diversions and storage facilities and their completion are adding to the problem.*
Since the region of present Clear Creek County was first settled by trappers and then by miners during the goldrush in the middle of the nineteenth century, the numbers of the County's inhabitants have continued to fluctuate with the prevailing economy. In 1865, six years after the beginning of the goldrush, the population amounted to 3,500 persons in Georgetown and 2,500 in Idaho Springs. Mineral springs and mining curiosities attracted thousands of tourists in the 1880s. The Silver Crash in 1893 reduced the population to a mere few hundred. In the 1920s, Georgetown became attractive as a place for winter sports and summer vacations of "two-week citizens" from the Midwest and Texas. More people (1625) settled in the County between 1930 and 1940 during the Depression. The population gained by 56.9% from 2155 to 3784 persons. This increase was almost lost again to the rural-urban migration in the decades following World War II. The population decreased from 3289 in 1950 to 2793 in 1960. Hopes for new projects in the following years, such as the AMAX molybdenum mine at Henderson west of Empire, a new electric plant near Georgetown, and the construction and development of the 1-70 corridor from Idaho Springs to Loveland Pass had expectations on population growth rising from less than 3,000 to 24,000. In reality, the increase from 2793 in 1960 to 4819 in 980 still amounted to 72.5% or what would be considered rapid growth. Nearly one third of the population began to account for the development of summer homes in the southeastern portion of the County where the number of residentia' units now
* The Two Forks Dam and Reservoir Site and Williams Fork Reservoir are being negotiated since 1904 and 1921 respectively. (Pokorny, 1982)
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had doubled. Already in 1880, Aaron Frost wrote that Brookvale, a subdivision in this area, was "a most intrinsically lovely spot."
Since the rural-urban migration in the lS60s, a reversal has taken place throughout the United States that has also been observed in the mountainous areas of the Colorado Front Range and Clear Creek County. While in the beginning newcomers may have been similar to oldtime residents in social and economic perceptions, a change has been noted in newcomers into rural areas. At first, owners of second homes converted these into primary residences either for themselves or for new owners; then hippies left metropolitan life for an alternative lifestyle in communes. Retirees were looking for an inexpensive place to spend their remaining years. However, Clear Creek County does not share this attraction for climatic reasons. More recently, a more affluent population followed all previous ones. It is assumed that residents and their water consumption in older parts of the County may conform to the set standard of rural residential water usage which considers 100 gallons per person per day sufficient, whereas the usage of the more recently arrived population may be higher in spite of existing restriction regarding outside water uses.
By 1978, the unincorporated subdivisions in the County showed as many residents as the incorporated towns. In 1980, 3838 persons lived in the unincorporated subdivisions and 3470 persons lived in the incorporated towns. The increase in people was believed to bring additional jobs, but had residents already living in the county worried about social side effects and increased costs. On July 1, 1984, 7554 people lived in the County. Projections point to 8715 persons in 1990 and 10,985 in the year 2000 (Figure 3).
Except for scattered development in other parts of the County, because vast areas (nearly 85%) of the Countys land are taken up by the Arapaho National Forest and other public domain, growth is expected to concentrate in the eastern
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Population Growth in Clear Creek County , 1960- 1983
1960 1970 1980 1982 1983
Empi re 110 249 423 438 419
Georgetown 307 542 830 895 775
.Idaho Springs 1,480 2,003 2,077 2,122 1,999
Silver Plume 86 164 140 142 132
incorporated, total 1,983 2,958 3,470 3,597 3,325
unincorporated, total 810 1,861 3,838 3,721 4,267
Clear Creek County 2,793 4,819 7,308 7,381 7,592
section. Besides the availability of land, other factors making this area attractive to new residents are the proximity of amenities and services in the neighboring corridor between Bergen Park and Evergreen in Jefferson County, job opportunities in the Denver Metro Area, good commuting accessibility, affordable properties, an agreeable climate, and a desirable rural mountain atmosphere.
The first settlements along the Rocky Mountain Front Range occurred from the east in the stream valleys and were economically supported by farming at the interface between mountains and plains and by mining in the mountain valleys. Settlements in both areas drew their water from the streams. The advent and affordability of drilling for water allowed farmers in the plains to move to higher grounds. In the mountains few dwellings existed since that time until space began lacking in the valleys and a more affluent population could afford construction of vacation homes for which water was provided through individual wells. Leapfrogging occurred from the western parts of Jefferson County. The first unincorporated subdivisions often had lots smaller than one acre, bit with population, affluence, and health concerns, lot size increased to between one and five acres. Water in the towns has been provided by the streams and through public sanitation districts. Pollution of Clear Creek was first noticed and
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concerns raised in 1861, two years after the beginning of the goldrush, have remained ever since. Naturally, the name of the creek was also questioned. Today, the water supply in the towns appears to be secured, especially when improvement of overaged supply systems will be completed. Occasional private wells receive water from generally water-rich alluvial gravel beds. Homesites in the Upper Bear Creek Valley are connected with Evergreen Sanitary District for sewage disposal.
The early inhabitants of the mountain subdivisions could rely on an adequate water supply through individual wells, provided they struck a waterbearing fault or a series of fractures. People settling in the valleys could draw water from alluvial and stream aquifers. But reliance on scarce groundwater in water-poor metamorphic rock and thin soils, a lacking infrastructure in most parts of this area, and periodic droughts threaten this growing population with lack of water.
With the shifting of settlements from the towns to the mountainous countryside, residential properties also changed their appearance. Houses in the older towns had and still have porches and small gardens with picket fences where "wives planted bushes of golden cinquefoil and blue columbine" (Rogers, 1968). Then came larger houses with English lawns, indicating increasing affluence. In 1965, all groundwater in the mountain areas was declared tributary to the flowing streams of that area. A law requires now to grant household well permits only for minimized consumptive use and that no use of water outside the house is allowed (Hofstra and Hall, 1975). This law, recognition of water scarcity, a changing attitude about gardening by increasingly working wives, and an appreciation of a mountainous landscape may have changed the outward appearance of mountain properties. Fewer gardens with large lawns appear in the newer developments.
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New residents in rural areas hc.ve been found to be better educated, more professional and receive higher incomes than older residents in the same communities. Dubbink (1984) observed in San Capistrano, California, that people who more recently moved into that area had different ideals and hopes for that town than older inhabitants. Differences, generally, pertained to perceptions about life in a small town and related ideas concerning economic growth. Newcomers tended to be more politically active, a quality also noted in the Denver Metro Area (Rothwyler, 1982).
These characteristics of newcomers into rural areas lead to the assumption that with higher income more discretionary income is available and new lifestyles are imported intc the County and will lead to an increasing acquisition of water-using appliances and habits and therefore an increasing use of water.
Attitudes persist about the infinite availability of groundwater in Colorado and about water as a renewable resource (Pearl, 1974). Water storage facilities and diversions continue to be demanded (Front Range Project Report, 1981). Public water supply systems and high density developments are being promoted to ensure a high standard of water quality and to prevent contamination (Getzels and Thurow, 1979; Wagstaff and Brady, 1981). Problems with individual water well and sewage disposal systems exist everywhere throughout the US (NPR -PA, 1985; Pizor, Nieswand and Hordon, 1984; Wilson, 1983; Hall, Hillier, Cain and Boyd, 1980; Hofstra and Hall, 1976), making the demand for public or collective water supply and disposal systems a very important and valuable one. Increasing costs and a changing attitude toward funding of water projects by the federal government since the late 1970s have skyrocketed public systems out of reach for rural homeowners. Contamination and economic issues are especially crucial for residents of mountainous areas such as the eastern portion of Clear Creek County. Snow (1973) is an advocate for well and septic systems only if
15


they are combined with adequate low density. While Snow suggests that one Inch of water per year per acre or 75 gallons per person per day are sufficient, more than ten years later this amount of water for a family of four no longer appears adequate. Two publications offer solutions by relating lot size and density to groundwater available on a particular piece of land. Wilson (1983) developed a model for a non-metropolitan, mountainous area 1n Santa Fe County, New Mexico, which helps determine densities based on the availability of water under the land. Pizor, Nieswand and Hordon (1984) expand their model under similar conditions 1n Hillsborough township, Somerset County, New Jersey, including septic tanks and leach fields and the filtering and absorbing capacity of the prevailing geologic conditions on a particular property.
Since the recognition of the Importance of the environment in developmental concerns in the 1970s, this aspect tended to be applied in esthetic terms, giving priority to a rural atmosphere or preserving a stand of quick growing trees for marketability. That public health issues, such as quality of groundwater and carrying capacity for wastewater disposal should be considered highest priority is a demand advanced by Stephenson and Lemmon (1983) based on experiences 1n Phoenix, Arizona and on other case studies. These authors, as well as Ashton and Bayer (1983), advocate cooperation between water supply and land use departments to arrive at solutions with which to continue residential growth and at the same time provide adequate quantity and quality of water to the population. One way to alleviate the threat of water shortages, according to Thurow, Toner and Erly (1975), 1s to Intervene at the recharge area with available police power at the local level. Developers also can be given financial incentives, such as reduction of fees, if they install water conserving devices in newly constructed homes.
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B. THE CLIMATE IN CLEAR CREEK COOUNTY
The climate in the County 1s determined by Its geographic location, topography, altitude, seasonal temperature changes and air movements. During the year, the County may experience most extreme temperatures, which may reach 94 degrees Fahrenheit at Idaho Springs 1n the height of summer or may fall to nearly -50 degrees Fahrenheit at Berthoud Pass in the winter. Temperatures may even differ widely on one day at different elevations. It may be summerly hot in Idaho Springs at around 7,500 feet and at the same time 20 or more degrees cooler on one of its numerous peaks that reach over 14,000 feet. Temperatures are also depending on the direction toward which a slope is facing. On a northfacing slope snow does not melt as fast as it would on the opposite slope, much to the delight of winter sport fans. The vegetation here ranges from forest of Douglas fir, spruce, aspen, to wildrose and mosses. South-facing slopes at higher elevations benefit from warm sun and allow meadows with colorful alpine flowers to grow and homeowners to settle further down. The thin air of high altitudes also causes rapid temperature changes during the day and from sunshine to shadow. Winter snowpacks melt slower on northfacing slopes, gradually releasing larger amounts of water for storage underground than the snow on a south slope, where more water runs off 1n numerous small streams, leaving this side of a mountain dryer 1n the summer. More water evaporates Into the atmosphere here. Being situated on the leeward side and on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, the County only receives an average precipitation of 25 inches per year. In the eastern section of the County, this is reduced to 17 inches per year. Together with a mean of 60 percent of evaporation, this places the County in the sem1-arid category of regional climates. The milder temperatures throughout the year in the County when compared with those in the Plains to the east contribute to making this area attractive.
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8L


C. GEOLOGY OF CLEAR CREEK COUNTY
Although the structural geology in the County is very complex, residents in search of water are essentially dealing with two general conditions. In the east of the County, the mountains consist predominantly of Precambrian metamorphic schists and gneiss. West of Idaho Springs toward the Continental Divide, igneous rock or Precambrian granite has pushed its way up from the batholith. Some 1750 million years ago, these rocks have been thrust, melted, uplifted, and streaked with pegmatite dikes which contain quartz and mica. Numerous folds, faults, and fissures attest to these processes. The area between Idaho Springs and Georgetown is part of the Colorado Mineral Belt which stretches in NE-SW direction from Boulder to Leadville. This is the area where most of Colorado's mining activities took place during the latter half of the
nineteenth century. Most of the topography in the County visible today was
shaped through rapid erosion from weathering during the Eocene. Glaciation during the Quaternary formed typical U-shaped valleys. Uplifting and stream erosion contributed to the formation of steep narrow canyons. The bottoms of
the glacier-churned valleys are filled with alluvial gravel, which as "parks"
provides room for the County's towns. Other alluvial deposits are glacial moraines.
Aquifers or groundwater reservoirs exist in alluvial deposits in the eastern part of the County and generally provide adequate amounts of water. The main aquifers are situated in fault zones and fractures of almost impervious Precambrian rock.
D. HYDROLOGIC CYCLE IN CLEAR CREEK COUNTY
Northwesterly winds bring moisture hundreds of miles from the Pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountains (Figure 4). As the warm humid air approaches the mountains, it rises and cools off at higher elevations, forms clouds and
19


releases most of its moisture to the ground as rain, snow or dew. Some of the clouds, especially during the wet seasons of the year, pass the Continental Divide and let it rain or snow over the mountainous area to the east. Clear Creek County receives an average of 25 inches of precipitation per year and 17 inches in the eastern section. On the ground, rain immediately penetrates into the soil by infiltration and percolation. This amounts to about 16 percent of precipitation or 2.72 inches. Eventually, only about 50 percent of the infiltrated water will be recoverable. When the soil has reached its capacity to absorb any more water, any excess, i.e. 24 percent or 4.08 inches, collects as surface runoff in rivulets, streams, and rivers. Eventually it runs into tidewaters of the Gulf of Mexico. If the precipitation falls as snow and accumulates on the soil, the same process of infiltration, percolation and runoff takes place, except that the snow may lay there until the sun has become strong enough to melt it. Besides infiltration and surface runoff, water is also absorbed by the roots of plants and transpired through their leaves. Most of the precipitation falling in Clear Creek County is evaporated directly from plants, soil or rocks. Both processes together are known as evapotranspiration. Sixty percent or 15 inches of the annual precipitation in the County is lost to evapotranspiration. Water also percolates into the ground and continues to go down by gravitational and capillary forces until it reaches the water table, the upper boundary of the zone where all pores are filled with water. The water table tends to take on the shape of the prevailing topography, flattening out during times of drought and in arid areas may drop far below the level of the stream. Groundwater is stored in aquifers, pumped to the surface in wells, feedsprings, creeks and streams during the dry season, and fills lakes. The older towns in the County along Clear Creek are supplied by such water during winter and summer. In the spring until early summer, the stream is filled with snowmelt from the mountains. The subdivisions in the mountains, such as St.
20




Mary's Glacier or in the County's east along the border to Jefferson County rely on individual wells drilled into the rock for groundwater, which will be discussed in more detail in the next section.
E. GROUNDWATER
Groundwater in the Rocky Mountains derives almost entirely from precipitation in the form of rain, snow, hail or dew (Figure 5). Slowly melting snowpacks and long drizzling rains allow more water to soak into the soil than
sudden downpours, which fall too fast to be absorbed. For water to penetrate
into the ground permeability and porosity must also be present. Alluvial fans and streambeds, which consist of more or less coarse gravel and sand, provide intergranular space for water to move through. Desert sands are so porous that dew, which has fallen overnight, disappears into the ground without leaving much to evaporation. In contrast, evaporation and water runoff in the mountains of the study area are so high and the pore space is su small that only 16 percent of the annual precipitation trickles into the ground. The Precambrian metamorphic and igneous rocks in the eastern section of the County are too tight to admit any water, except into the upper reaches of decomposed rock and tectonic fractures and faults, which were created through thrusting and folding of these ancient formations. Type and amount of vegetation play an important role on how much water sinks into the ground. A thick pad of mosses and grasses or
deciduous shrubs and trees absorb more water and release it to soil and
atmosphere than plants associated wit! the dry soils of the desert or coniferous
trees and dry grasses in the County Steep slopes, bare rocks and sparse vegetation maximize water runoff. Fine rains and snowmelt penetrate into the soil where the terrain is flat and undirected and drained only by small streams and rivulets. In the ground, water flows vertically and horizontally, by gravitation and capillarity, forming underground reservoirs or aquifers. When
22


gravitation and capillarity, forming underground reservoirs or aquifers. When recharge into aquifers from precipitation and/or other areas is surpassed by withdrawal through pumping, water is being mined. When water is moving extremely slowly through nearly impervious geologic formations, such as the Precambrian rocks in the County, contamination is almost irreversible once it has occurred in spite of the filtering capacity of the rocks.
During periods of drought, the water table may be lowered to such an extent that wells will dry out and owners are forced to drill replacement wells. Wells on Hyland Hills have reportedly gone dry. Replacement wells may not be very successful because the chance of hitting on a productive fault zone or fracture system decreases with increasing depth. Fewer fractures occur with increasing depth and reduce the chances of reaching additional water-carrying fractures. New wells in the area may encounter the same fracture system from which wells on top of the hill are producing, causing a reduced water yield there. Elsewhere, a lowering of the water table was observed from overwithdrawal of water for commercial and industrial purposes during periods of high economic activity. The water table rose to acceptable levels with succeeding recessions. Pumping from wells causes the water table to be lowered in the shape of a cone near the well site. When wells are too closely spaced, the cones may intersect, eventually lowering the water table and causing one or the other or both wells to run dry. No specific yield requirements exist for water wells in the County. Five gallons per minute are considered good but are sometimes not sufficient. Some wells produce only half a pint per minute. After being pumped out of the ground, the water is stOK-d in a holding tank of 50 or 100 gallons and consumed whenever it is needed. Punps turn on automatically to restore the water supply.
Aquifers are being recharged with water from precipitation in alluvial fans in the mountains and the alluvial deposits that surround major streams. Depending on hydraulic gradient and hydraulic conductivity, water moves either
23


into discharge areas, such as streams, lakes or wetlands or into aquifers. Natural discharge also occurs as evaporation within a few feet of the capillary fringe of the surface. The amount of recharge depends on the amount of precipitation, seasonal changes, and air temperatures and may fluctuate between years. Recharge is more effective in forests than in cities, where impervious surfaces abound. Recharge also occurs over much larger areas than discharge and only periodically during and immediately after precipitation. Discharge, in contrast, is a continuing process until the water table has receded below the level of discharge, when the rate of discharge decreases. In the County, most precipitation occurs during the months of April and May and during July and August. During drought conditions little or no water is being recharged, but groundwater continues to move downwards toward lower elevations, drawing off more water and causing wells and streams to go dry, comparable to a bathtub with an open outlet, the faucet turned off and the stopper misplaced. Considering that the Precambrian rock is an impermeable aquifer boundary, and provided there is interconnection between fractures, it can be said that the overlying aquifer is negatively unconfined, that recharge occurs only from precipitation, and that groundwater is withdrawing from it. Because of these conditions and because faults and fractures are very hard to find as they are covered by vegetation, their discovery must be left to random drilling. For all the previous reasons, the availability of groundwater should be considered only by individual drainage basin or hillside and not countywide.
A simple calculation from existing data will result in a lot size which would yield sufficient water for a Family of three.* If mean annual precipitation for one dry year equals ten inches, 60 percent or six inches are absorbed by the atmosphere through evapotranspiration from the ground and
* A conservative approach is advisable and numbers are therefore rounded up.
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through plants. Twenty-four percent or 2.4 inches are lost to surface runoff; 16 percent or 1.6 inches of remaining precipitation percolates into the soil as groundwater. Of these, 50 percent or 0.8 inches are recoverable. Ten inches of precipitation on one acre amount to 271,667 gallons per acre or 0.83 AF (acre feet one acre foot is the amount of water covering one acre to one foot or 12 inches, equalling 326,000 gallons and the amount of water necessary for a family of four in one year or 223 GPD). The recoverable amount of water (8 percent or 0.8 inches) would then be 21,734 gallons on one acre of land. One household of an average of 2.72 persons of which each would require 140 GPD, would need 138,992 gallons per year and an equivalent of 6.5 acres.
The availability of water is also dependent on the quality of water, which can be impaired by natural or artificial contamination. Natural contamination of groundwater can be caused by toxic heavy metals dissolved in the water, having accumulating detrimental health effects. Man-made water pollution may originate from industrial, commercial, agricultural, and municipal activities. One problem to be considered in residential development in rural areas are solid waste disposal sites or sanitary landfills. In the County, solid wastes are collected in containers, which are then shipped and disposed of outside the County. Older sites, however, may continue to pollute the groundwater surrounding such sites. In mountain subdivisions throughout the Front Range, problems from groundwater contamination are known where permanent and second homes are situated on fractured rock with little or no soil mantle. Once contamination has occurred, reiabilitation is rarely successful. Although not reported in the County, contanination in mountainous areas often takes place from malfunctioning septic tank and leachfield systems. Septic tank systems do not remove pathogenic bacteria as generally believed. These substances are destroyed through anaerobic treatment during percolation into the soil, where solids are also removed. The fractured rocks in the study area, but also very
25


coarse-grained gravels, do not have the filtering capacity of sand, for example, and allow bacteria to move through openings for long distances. It is therefore important to consider the intrinsic properties of soil and rock during the construction of a leachfield system.
Another factor adding to the problems of such systems in the mountains are steep slopes. Standard regulations require 15 feet between surface and bottom of a leachfield. A slope exceeding 20 percent, however, may cause effluent to surface. Failure of a system may also occur from clogging of pores in soil or rock. An alternative to these potential problems would be dual systems, allowing for regular rotation. Opposing views exist about the lifetime of septic tank systems in the mountains. These contradictions make it expedient to allow for sufficient land for replacement and alternation of systems.
F. EFFECTS OF INSECT INFESTATION ON THE FOREST AND WATER AVAILABILITY IN CLEAR CREEK COUNTY
Since the infestation of large areas in the Arapaho National Forest several years ago by spruce budworm and, to a small extent, by pine beetle, trees are now in a state of obvious deterioration. The thinning of branches by the loss of needles allows more light to reach the small plantlife on the forest floor. Water from rain and snow is no longer absorbed by the trees when they were healthy, but falls to the ground. Ecosystems have a capacity to restore or adapt themselves to changing conditions. Immediate adaptation efforts can therefore be expected in the insect infested forest in the County. Even if small plant life will occur and proliferate as soon as a fected trees begin to shed needles and branches, admitting light to the forest floor, growth of trees to maturity will take many years. Aspens are one species known to grow as "pioneers" in the renewing forest. And although these small plants may eventually grow to protect the new saplings of a revitalized spruce forest, through their initial absence or because they were too small to be effective in
26


the meantime, water runoff will have been increased. Water which was formerly percolating into the soil and thus replenishing bedrock and alluvial aquifers, is now running down the slopes and streams without benefiting the residents in the area by recharge or storage in surface reservoirs. In areas where water augmentation is desired, forest and water management techniques deliberately cut existing forests in such a way as to increase water yield. In effect, this will benefit only the lowlying and senior water users. For water users in the County, the same increased runoff would rather be considered a loss, since less of the released water will percolate into the ground. Clear cutting by private lumbering industry continues in the County. Besides contributing to erosion, these practices also cause water losses from increased runoff.
G. LAND USE
Present land use in the study area consists of large lots for single family residences, requiring individual water wells and septic tank systems when small water distribution and sewage treatment systems would appear to be safer, providing more water, higher water quality and a safer disposal of waste waters. Higher densities in selected areas could make living in the area affordable for more people and provide an incentive for developers to approach the County's requirements. Additional open space would provide opportunities for groundwater recharge. A number of wells in the study area have already run dry during relatively normal water years.
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H. POPULATION
Conservative projections for Clear Creek County up to the year 2010 barely see a doubling for the population from 7554 persons in 1984 to 13,826 in 2010. The majority of new residents may be expected to settle in the eastern section of the County. It may also be assumed that more of these new residents will have completed higher education, will receive higher incomes, and will inhabit homes with a higher value than the population in the two major towns of the County, Idaho Springs and Georgetown. Presently, the populations of the tv/o enumeration districts in the unincorporated eastern subdivisions surpass those in the town in education, household income and home value. A higher percentage
of persons with one to three years of High School live in the towns (18.2 vs.
9.4%) and more people in the towns have completed four years of High School than did in the eastern sections (38.6 vs 32.4%). Both areas have almost equal percentages of persons with one to three years of college (21.8 vs 22.2%). A significant difference becomes apparent for persons having completed four years of college. 14.2 percent have done so in the towns and 22.3 percent in the eastern sections over one third more. The count of persons having completed five of more years of college is nearly twice as high (13.8%) in the
unincorporated area than in the towns (7.1%). Households of the subdivisions
earn in average between one and one fourth (1.28) to nearly twice as much (1.82) than those living in the towns. Households of the subdivisions earn in average between one and one fourth (1.28) to nearly twice as much (1.82) than those living in the towns. Average home values in the SE section are about three fourths higher (.75) than those in Idaho Springs and those in the HE section are about one fourth (.25) more expensive than in Georgetown (Table 1).
The towns of Idaho Springs and Georgetown have assessed 110 and 130 gallons per person per day (GPD) respectively for the year 1975. (Tables 2 and 4) Both
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municipalities increase the number of GPD per decade by about five gallons. It may be assumed that the amounts of water these communities have assessed for their residents include outside water use, such as lawn watering, car washing and hosing down the driveway, and that the regular increases include the acquisition of water using appliances and practices. In 1981 the Denver Water Board assumed one acre-foot of water per household or roughly 230 GPD. According to David Fleming (9/26/85), 70 gallons will be used inside the house,
leaving 160 gallons for outside use. These calculations are contradicted by R.D.Wiley (1979), who assumes only 39.8 percent or 91.5 gallons for outside water use of Denver residents, raising the average in-house consumption to 138.5 gallons per person. A survey in this investigator's townhouse complex in a Lakewood subdivision with 18 units and 38 persons resulted in 96 GPD in-house water use. The amount of water used in rural areas in the State of Colorado has been assessed at 100 GPD. Median household income in 1979 in the County was $20,738 as compared with a median house value of $75,900. Median household income in the State of Colorado in 1980 was $18,056 and the median house value in May 1982 was $47,900. The average number of persons living in one unit (P/U) is lowest in Georgetown with 2.29 persons per unit. It is 2.5 in Idaho Springs, 2.72 in the NE section (ED 0679A) and 2.71 in the SE section (ED W0680) (Tables 4 and 5). It is believed that certain functions and their water consumption used in one household remain the same without regard to the number of persons in that household (Milne, 1976).
Correlating water use with household income and ho.ne value has led to the conclusion that the amount of water ascribed to one person per day should be raised to at least 120 GPD for residents in the eastern part of the County in a normal year. During dry periods, when annual precipitation may be less than 10 inches, water use would have to be reduced to 70 GPD or less.
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Table 1. Persons 18 years old and over by years of education completed.
Georgetown No. % Idaho Springs No. 1 NE Section No. % SE Section No. %
Elementary through
High School 1 to 3 57 8.9 332 22.2 118 9.8 81 8.8
yrs.
High School 4 yrs. 215 33.6' 609 40.8 442 36.7 246 26.9
College 1 to 3 yrs. 204 31.9 262 17.5 287 23.8 183 20.0
College 4 yrs. 118 18.4 185 12.4 220 18.2 252 27.5
College 5 yrs. or 46 7.2 106 7.1 139 11.5 153 16.7
more
TOTAL 640 100.0 1494 100.0 1206 100.0 917 99.9
Table 2. Population and Water Demand Forecasts in Idaho Springs and Georgetown
1975 1980 1990 2000 2010
Idaho Springs Population 2,800 3,500 4,500 5,600 6,600
Dry year GPD 110 112 117 122 127
Supply Requirements (acre-feet/yr.) 345 439 589 765 938
Georgetown Population 900 1,300 1,800 2,300 2,800
Dry year GPD 130 132 137 142 147
Supply Requirements (acre-feet/yr.) 131 192 276 366 461
Source: Metropolitan Water Requirements and Resources, 1975.
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Table 3. Median house value, median and mean income of households and families in four residential areas in Clear Creek County
Georgetown Idaho Springs NE Section SE Section
House value $69,100 $59,700 $86,100 $104,900
Household income median 19,167 17,280 23,449 29,091
Household income mean 20,848 19,042 26,619 34,637
Family income median 20,625 20,576 24,525 32,313
Family income mean 23,726 21,931 27,923 38,166
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Table 4. Water consumption and household size in four residential areas in Clear Creek County, Colorado and metropolitan Denver.
Georgetown Idaho Springs NE Section SE Section Clear Creek County State of Colorado rural areas Metro Denver
Water consumption 1n gallons per person per day 130 110 NA NA 100 100 230
Mean household size persons per dwelling unit 2.5 2.29 2.72 2.71
Mean number of rooms in year-round owner-occupied housing units 5.6 5.6 5.1 6.5
Table 5. Typical residential water consumption 1n the U.S., in Metro Denver, England and Western Germany in GPD
USA (FHA 1965) Metro Denver 1979 England 1976 Germany 1984
Toilet 451 32 gal 26.71 61.41 351 12.95 371 11.5
Bathing and personal uses 301 21 26.2* 60.26 25 12.95 30 11.1
Laundry and dishes 201 14 20 7.4 28 8.9
Landscaping NA 39.4 91.54 4 1.48 2 6.2
GPD 100 230 35 38
* Includes laundry and dishes.
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I. EDUCATION
The level of education of a person or a group of persons has been found to contribute neither to specific consumption nor to a difference in attitude toward understanding of the problem (Lupsha, 1975). Generally, understanding of a problem and a positive reaction to it are found to be more dependent upon appropriate information. The degree of education may, however, support the level of income and therefore that of house value. The differences between residents in the towns and those in the mountain suburbs seem to confirm this (Table 1). County residents appear to have proved their capability of understanding of a problem in the 1970s with their support for economic growth and diversification when their life support depended primarily on mining (DP, 9-8, 1974).
J. SUMMARY
The study area is part of the Rocky Mountain Front Range of Precambrian formations yielding water only from fault zones and fracture systems. Alluvial gravel beds in the stream valleys are a source of water for a few of the County's residents. The towns in the County are supplied from stream water.
The climate in the County and the study area east of the Continental Divide is extreme and semi-arid. Infestation of the forest by spruce budworm will cause increased surface runoff and less groundwater to be collected. An affluent
population in the study area may cause its water supply to be depleted by introducing a lifestyle of increased water use. To be prepared for recurring periods of drought, it appears necessary for the County to develop a contingency program to be implemented with the threat of water shortage.
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CHAPTER IV.
DISCUSSION
The given factors in evaluating the adequacy of amounts of water for residential consumption consist of a semi-arid climate, poor water-yielding geological conditions, thin soils and steep slopes. The economic determinants of rising income and house value appear to make it necessary to reevaluate the present land use technique of ascribing residential lot size. Comparison of the populations of two towns and two enumeration districts in the eastern section of the County resulted in significant differences in the eastern section of the County resulted in significant differences regarding income, house value, and, though this may be of secondary importance, differences in education.
At present, County zoning regulations prescribe 2-5 acres for one dwelling in MR1 (mountain residential) and assume a water consumption rate of 100 GPD (gallons per person per day). The GPD was adopted from estimates for rural residents in Colorado and may continue to be sufficient in other areas and under different conditions. Higher incomes allow for higher house values and more disposable income, which can be spent, among other things, on water using appliances. Milne (1976) differentiates between essential and convenient appliances. Since World War II, automatic washing machines and dishwashers have increasingly grown from convenience to essential appliances. Garbage disposals, long showers, swimming pools, and more cars per household being washed have added to the increase of the use of water.
Two models to calculate appropriate lot size for the mountain areas have been evaluated and proved inapplicable because of lack of certain factors necessary for replication (Wilson, 1983; Pizor, Nieswand and Hordon, 1984). Both, however, advocate reliance for water availability solely from
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precipitation. Suggestions for water conserving land use techniques by Sanders and Thurow (1982) proved inapplicable as well, calling for high density cluster development or zero lot lines. Public water supply and sewage systems become too expensive to be installed in areas with thin soil and hard Precambrian rock. Rising costs since the 1970s have, in fact, made earlier practices and suggestions, which continued into the early 1980s (Wagstaff and Brady, 1981), rather unattractive to all concerned in spite of their promises for safer supply and disposal (Kim and Seskin, 1982). "Splatter" or urban sprawl, which is much deplored under more favorable conditions elsewhere, could be justified in mountainous rural areas where it is necessary to widely space individual wells and septic tank and leachfield systems to insure and protect the existing water supply (Wolf, 1981). However, doubling the minimum lot size to allow for dry years could become economically unfeasible. The constraints imposed on mountainous residential areas thus provide a valid argument against inclusionary zoning. Besides, in mountainous areas, large lot sizes are desirable for fire protection.
The affluence of residents in the eastern section of the County justifies the assumption that these households are consuming more water than the inhabitants of the towns. With in-house consumption of Metro Denver residents 140 GPD and an average household size of 2.72 persons per unit applied, the annual water demand would amount to 138,992 gallons per household per year. The water demand of the towns is based on the amount of water available during dry years. An increase of 5 gallons per person is assumed per decade in each town. A two percent increase of water per year is assumed for residents of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The lowest mean annual precipitation recorded in the eastern parts of the County equals 10 inches. Based on the assumption that water demands are entirely dependent upon precipitation in an area, greater
35


water demands need to be applied for repeatedly occurring periods of drought,
m
when little or no recharge takes place from precipitation and groundwater continues to be drawn to lower elevations. To provide such a household with adequate amounts of water 6.5 acres would be needed. This minimum amount of land is exceeding the lot size presently required.
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CHAPTER V.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
A. INTRODUCTION
Historically, first settlement in Clear Creek County occurred in towns. Secondary homes began to be built in Brookvale along Bear Creek with access from Evergreen in Jefferson County. Only recently are permanent homes situated in the eastern section of the County, many of which are increasingly on higher elevations. In western history, gods and their servants inhabited high ground for glory and admiration, manifested in temples and monasteries. Castles on high hills or rocks for the nobility and towns for the people were a means for self defense. Water was either carried on human or animal backs or shared from one deep well. The people of towns could live together and share the available water, because relatively little water was needed in a medieval household as compared to the modern western one. Problems arose during spells of drought or a siege when no well existed and access to essential water was cut off by the enemy. For average citizens to live in a mountainous area such as the Colorado Front Range is a relatively recent development and accompanied by increasing affluence and status, although earlier residents of these areas may have chosen to live there only during part of the year and/or because of low cost to them. With increasing numbers, problems about sufficiently available water from individual wells also have increased not only in water poor areas, such as the eastern part of the County, but in so-called water-rich areas as well.
While water shortages in low-lying areas could be improved by drilling deeper, the semi-arid climate and diminishing faults and fractures in literally impermeable rocks in the study area make this an often futile attempt. Groundwater in mountainous settlements such as these exists only as a thin sheet
37


between surface and rock. Because of higher incomes, home value, education, and family size, households in the mountainous subdivisions of the study area can be expected to use greater amounts of water compared with citizens in the County's towns, residents of the Denver metropolitan area or of other rural areas in Colorado in general. The amounts of water used must continue to be assumed, because no records for water consumption in mountain residences with individual wells exist.
An additional problem occurring countywide is the deterioration of parts of the forests through spruce budworm infestation, which causes increased surface water runoff instead of allowing it to infiltrate into the ground. Neither the extent of the infestation, nor the damage already caused has been recorded.
Local government, faced with periodic droughts, which not only can cause its residents to be without sufficient water but also affect environmental conditions, has a number of options to stave off a severe water shortage without the need to stop growth and without having to wait for state or regional water management or augmentation efforts to come about.
B. RECOMMENDATIONS
A list of suggestions to the County could consider to pursue is taking into account priorities of land use and development in context with water and forest management, building codes, and an intensive water conservation program. The following governmental interventions are strongly recommended to be incorporated into public policy:
Change the prevailing attitude about water. Although vast amounts of groundwater exist in Colorado, they are not readily available aid can be produced only with extensive costs. Officials and citizens in semi-arid environments such as Colorado need to leirn that water is a sensitive and limited renewable natural resource. The alternative to the construction of expensive and time consuming storage facilities and diversion projects is to recognize these facts and base development and supplement on water more easily available, i.e. closer to home.
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Incorporate into subdivision and zoning regulations th.il water management be proclaimed the very first priority before all other considerations for development, such as esthetics or economic feasibility. These values are directly dependent upon the availability of water and are rather uselesas if the importance of water is neglected.
Base any efforts regarding water management on the lowest precipitation ever recorded, i.e. 10 inches per year, without relying on uncertain expectations for assistance from outside. Also base these efforts on drought periods occurring over several years.
Pursue existing long term objectives to acquire financial or technical assistance from outside, such as "Small Watershed Projects" under the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act (Public Law 566), which provides for watershed projects such as municipal water supply in conjunction with other watershed related projects. This could be used to establish contingency reservoirs for the diverse subdivisions and could provide the Study Area as well as other unincorporated subdivisions in the County with all or part of the water needed in an emergency. Additional benefits could be derived from recreation and fishing opportunities resulting from the construction of such small reservoirs.
Inquire about and pursue the possibility of "Cooperative River Basin Studies" by the Soil Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is giving priority to, among others, water conservation and appraisal of land, water and related resources in the study area.
Determine recharge areas and aquifers and consider their protection through zoning from groundwater contamination.
t Establish agreement with the National Forest Service for water conserving forest management practices, which include, if not already existent, snowpack augmentation, water conserving and/or tree-cutting practices, such as selective cutting and small area cutting. Cutting regulations should be established for private lumbering to avoid clear-cutting which continues to be practiced and causes surface runoff and erosion.
In pursuit of County-owned water augmentation, it is suggested to inquire about the legal implications and possibilities for infiltration galleries. These are horizontal underground tunnels on a slight gradient into which water seeps from the surrounding rock formations. Similar systems have been used in the Middle East for centuries and are not unknown in Europe. The technical advantage of such a system in mountainous areas depending on fault zones and fractures for water is that several of such water bearing openings can be tapped with a degree of certainty, while water yielding vertical wells are dependent upon chance due to the difficulty of determining a precise location. The County
39


should also contact owners of existing tunnels about the possible extraction and use of water. Tunnels such as these were constructed to drain water accumulating in mines. Generally, water from these tunnels is contaminated with minerals from geologic formations where it originates or through which it passes. Treatment of these waters may be too expensive to make
them potable. However, under less stringent conditions, they may be useful as "greywater" for municipal purposes.
Support a replanting program in the forests of evergreens protected by faster growing plants.
t Presently, County Zoning Rules (April 19, 1982) prescribe "no less than one acre for R-l Mountain Residential or two acres for property proposed for platting. Substantially larger areas per homesite may be required if such factors as ground-water supply and sewage treatment suitability are included," among others. Under generous, least recorded annual precipitation conditions, it would be necessary to adjust residential lot sizes to no less than five acres. In a more conservative scenario, the minimum lot size for a family of three would have to be no less than seven acres large. The practice to assume a certain amount of water on a certain size parcel assumes water to be available only under that land, being replenished only by precipitation. This is certainly the condition for parts of the County subdivisions, where no additional water from other areas can be expected. More generous terms can be considered in areas where exceptional conditions make water more easily available.
Develop and instigate an intensive and comprehensive water conservation program. A more extensive discussion about this issue will follow in the next section.
Impose and enforce restrictions on lawn watering, car washing and hosing off driveways in an emergency.
§ Provide an example to the population by using a native-plant landscaping concept on all public grounds; by requiring that all public buildings be titled or retro-fitted with water-saving devices and appliances; and by requiring that all outside water uses be accomplished with greywater collected from public buildings and possible storm- and melt-water.
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C. WATER CONSERVATION
A comprehensive conservation program begins with environmental and land use concerns as they have been discussed in the preceding section. In this section methods to conserve water will be treated, regarding construction of residential dwellings and water conservation in the already finished and lived-in home.
Besides attempts to improve water availability through land use regulations, environmental studies and improved forest and water management techniques, the reduction of water use in the home is the next area where local government can intervene. Building codes offer a way for incentives to developers to construct recycling and rainwater-collecting cisterns and to install flow-restricting devices in water faucets and shower heads. Smaller toilet tanks and body-shaped bathtubs are available on the market and can also be installed. Most important should be consideration of water conservation in the household.
To conserve water means to reduce water use and water loss. It also means to change attitudes about its availability and a change of habits in its use. Even though water is a renewable natural resource, it is also a sensitive and limited resource and not always and everywhere readily available. To conserve water does not mean to lower one's standard of living. Benefits of a more conscientious use of water generally have been enumerated for those homeowners receiving their water from a public or municipal water supply and sewage disposal system. They are primarily seen in a reduction of water heating costs, since they account for about a third of a household's fuel bill. Collectively,
41


water conservation reduces the load on storage facilities, supply capacities and sewage treatment plants. Homeowners of individual water supply and disposal systems benefit from similar advantages: besides reducing the load on disposal systems and water heating costs, private well owners will also see reduced costs for pumping and chemicals. A reduction in water use in semi-arid areas such as the Study Area, where homeowners depend on individual wells, puts less strain on the aquifer, assuring a more even supply. Water savings should, however, not mislead local governments and developers to additional growth or increased density.
Since the 1940s, a steady increase of domestic water use has been attributed to growing affluence accompanied by purchases of water using appliances. Automatic clothes and dishwashers have passed the stage of mere convenience and become necessities. Toilets and bathtubs have increased in size, accounting for the largest water use in the average household and are areas where the greatest savings can be achieved. New water uses are spray taps on kitchen faucets, garbage disposals, swamp coolers, wet bars, icemakers, waterpiks, whirlpool baths, hot tubs, and swimming pools and the increasing number of cars to be washed in one household. Many of these uses can be reduced through a change of habit such as using spray tap, garbage disposal or other water uses requiring running water for only the time that they are actually needed. Teeth can be brushed from a glass of water instead of from the running tap. Water use can also be reduced through installation of water-saving appliances and devices. Flow restrictors in showerheads and aerators in other water faucets can be easily inserted. Water heaters close to the point of use and heating on demand avoid the need for cold water to run and be wasted until hot water arrives. Less water is spent for filling a tub or basin or starting a shower with fully opening the hot water faucet and mixing it to the needed temperature after hot water has begun to flow. (This practice requires great
42


care in order not to scald one's skin. Never step into a bath or under a shower before having adjusted the water temperature). Water heaters which are apparently too small have been found to stop prolonged showers short, especially with teenagers. Homeowners also can add to efficient water use by diligently detecting leakages and keeping them under control by replacing old faucets with washerless ones. Evaporation from swimming pools can effectively be reduced with appropriate covers and by avoiding splashing. Another area where water can be saved is the recycling of all waste water produced in a household, except toilet wastes, known as "greywater". Adequate treatment is needed to make safe use of the average 50 to 60 percent of discharged wastewater in a household. Recycled or grey water can be used for irrigation, washing cars and floors. It can be used for toilet flushing and air conditioning. Local governments can provide an example in requiring that all government buildings be fitted with water saving devices and that all public watering activities such as street washing, fire protection and plant and lawn sprinkling be done with greywater. Water use can be completely eliminated with the use of dry-toilets. Systems exist which are operating with oil flushing, composting, vacuum, incinerator, freezing or chemical mechanisms. Dry toilet systems and greywater usage in the house still lack public acceptance in spite of considerable water-savings. Water and sanitary districts and municipalities can require progressive pricing and pressure reduction.
Lawn watering in the metropolitan Denver area requires nearly 40 percent of the annual water demand in an average household. Landscaping which reduces water demand Implies a change from popular and expansive lawn to native grasses, shrubs and trees in shapes and spaces which serve human needs for views, shade and sunshine or screens from noise and wind and which serve ecological purposes regarding soil, slope and water needs. Properly designed native gardens can
43


reduce water usage to two or three waterings per year and can be very beautiful at the same time. They do not need to appear brown, dry and unkempt.
Summary
Water conservation implies changes of attitude toward the availability of water and of water using behavior by governments and citizens. Zoning ordinances regarding land use and recharge area protection are most effective tools. Building codes can include installation of water conserving appliances. Individual households also benefit from adaptation to new water using methods in the house and outside of it. Awareness of the need for water conservation has been found to be most effective if citizens actively participate in a program with full support from the local government.
D. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN A WATER CONSERVATION PROGRAM
Programs to improve an unsatisfactory situation in a community are most successful with active participation of the members of that community and with technical assistance from the local government and the Planning Commission. For the unincorporated subdivisions and the incorporated municipalities in the County, such a program is strongly recommended. Citizen awareness for a problem and the capacity for change are best raised through a learning experience which such a program implies. The County can draw on the experience and readiness of the citizens of Silver Plume, who actively determined the fate of their town, and on citizens at large, who are always ready to at least voice their opinion. Several hundred people participated to gather information for an environmental inventory in Indian Hills, Jefferson County, and then decided on the future of their subdivision. A program would begin with raising the awareness of the population through radio and TV spots, newspaper articles and flyers. Presentations would be held in towns and subdivisions, demonstrating specific
44


problems in a general way. Citizens would then be invited to participate in the development of a water needs assessment for their particular community, collecting information about the availability of water, its distribution, and its use. This would include such things as the location and extent of watersheds, wetlands, mapping of wells, registration of well depths, the efficiency of leachfield systems and the contamination of groundwater. Many other factors could also be defined. Many of the data needed can be gathered by ordinary citizens. For more specific information and guidance, contact can be made with university departments, extension services, and private consultants. Local students of all grades can be involved with projects in different classes and incidentally learn about their environment and the ecological conditions under which living there would be acceptable. An evaluation of the collected information and assessed needs would lead citizens to define problems, goals and objectives and eventually guide them to decide on possible solutions. Many studies would occur in the natural environment and would, therefore, be dependent on seasonal changes, suggesting that 12 to 15 months may be necessary to complete a program.
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BIBLIOGRAPHY
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51


EASTERN CLEAR CREEK COUNTY
adapted from USGS topographic and geological maps sheet Floyd Hill
Legend
I ll- ll 1 Subdivision
alluvial deposit
.. Fault