Wild Horse Reservoir

Wild Horse Reservoir

Project Updates

Updated 07/14/2020
Aurora Water has received authorization from the BLM to perform geotechnical work, including core sampling and seimic investigations in the footprint of the proposed Wild Horse Reservoir. This work began mid-July and will continue into the fall.

Getting water to you

Aurora is the state leader in water conservation and innovative water solutions. We have to be. Aurora is the third largest city in Colorado, yet it’s not located by a major water source. We must rely on a complex system and multiple strategies to ensure our community has the water it needs.

Most of Aurora’s water travels long distances to get to your tap. We store that water in multiple reservoirs and release it as needed. Our successful conservation and reuse efforts have helped us to stretch our limited and valuable water supplies. Our customers have embraced the conservation ethic by cutting individual water use 36 percent since 2000. Aurora was an early adopter of using reclaimed water for irrigating parks and golf courses, and was the first city in Colorado to implement water reuse for drinking water with our Prairie Waters system.

In order to protect our community against droughts and to enhance the reliability of our aging water system, Aurora Water needs to store more water in the mid-2020s for delivery to our customers. Colorado’s extreme weather patterns are producing more intense droughts followed by very wet years. Reservoirs are our water savings accounts. We bank “extra” water in wet years, as well as the water we save through conservation, to use in dry times.

A new reservoir

To increase storage capacity, we are evaluating a proposed new reservoir located in Park County. Named Wild Horse Reservoir, the site is west of Aurora’s Spinney Mountain Reservoir. The area is mostly undeveloped and unpopulated high plains grassland and does not have a stream or river running through it.

Wild Horse Reservoir
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The reservoir would be filled with water Aurora currently transports through the Otero pipeline. It would then travel to Spinney Mountain Reservoir before making its way to Aurora.

There are a number of significant benefits of this project and location:

  • Enhances reliability: Wild Horse Reservoir will provide critical and needed storage for our existing system, which is working well but is getting old. Wild Horse will help provide uninterrupted water delivery when other older reservoirs need to be taken off line for routine maintenance, repairs or emergencies.

  • Cost effective: Due to the geography and proximity to existing infrastructure, the project is very cost effective.

  • No new water needed for reservoir: The reservoir would be filled using water Aurora already owns the rights to -- no new water rights are being sought for this project.

  • Few environmental impacts: The area is high plains grassland with very few trees. Because it is not located on a river or stream and would be filled with water already flowing through an existing pipe, it would not dam or impact any existing rivers or streams.

For more information, contact us at WildHorseReservoir@auroragov.org

Frequently Asked Questions

What recreational facilities will be at Wild Horse Reservoir?
It's too early to know what recreation facilities will be at Wild Horse Reservoir, or even how these would be managed.

It appears from the map that several county roads will be impacted How will I get access to my private property?
While the map we display on our Fact Sheet and website is very preliminary, we will work with Park County on any road realignments.

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