In the midst of the worst drought since 2002, Centennial Water and Sanitation District is tapping its 1.7 billion acre-feet supply of groundwater underneath Highlands Ranch to prepare for summer.
“We use it when we have to,” said John Hendrick, general manager for Centennial. “The groundwater program is kind of our Fort Knox, our trump card up our sleeves. Our reserves are big enough that we could use 17,000 acre-feet a year for 100 years.”
To access the groundwater, the district will begin a somewhat lengthy 24/7 drilling process in two locations within the community in early March. The drill sites are located on Salford Lane, north of Gateway Drive and east of Broadway, and near Paintbrush Park, just north of Valleybrook Road and southwest of McArthur Ranch Road.
“It will be disruptive,” Hendrick said. “We could stretch it out for three, four or five months if we limited the time we were working on it, but the cost would escalate significantly. So, we’re going to get in there, get it done and get out of your hair.”
In addition to the cost factor, Hendrick said part of the reason the district is opting for the 24/7 approach — which is expected to be for a period of 8-10 weeks — is to get it done while the weather is still cold, when most people have their windows shut.
Work will include diesel-powered drilling, well construction and water sampling at the end of the project. During the nighttime drilling operations, the work area will be lit for the safety of the workers. While the lights will be shined downward, there is still a strong likelihood that light will hit neighboring windows, Hendrick said.
Once complete, the well sites will undergo additional construction work involving the installation of underground piping as well as pumping equipment in the wells. The sites will then be landscaped to make them blend in with the surrounding properties.
For questions, contact Courtney Hemenway at 303-901-2287 or Deborah Gallegos at 303-505-4600. For more information, please visit www.centennialwater.org.