It’s a fact: The Fort Collins-Loveland Water District now has 63,000 customers, just in time to celebrate our 63rd anniversary. Although we didn’t plan it that way—and we do a LOT of planning here—we’re delighted at how the numbers aligned. Of course, it wasn’t without significant effort over the last six decades that we’ve grown the FCLWD into a thriving district, but that effort extends way back, all the way to the beginning. To District staff members, board members and customers, former and current, thank you!
As we take stock of the last six decades and what we’ve grown into, we’re incredibly proud that we get to serve our customers every day. Water is life, which means water resource management is serious business.
Curious how we got here? Keep reading.
Turn back the clock to 1961
For 63 years, the FCLWD has supplied high-quality water to homes and businesses in Northern Colorado. Of course, things certainly looked different back in 1961 when the special district was founded. For starters, there were far fewer homes and businesses, but that was all about to change.
Without question, the 1960s saw remarkable growth in Fort Collins in terms of population, commerce and education. During this time, new industries were relocating to the area and suburbs were beginning to take root. Colorado State University was also prepping for growth, including the construction of new facilities that would accommodate a booming student population expected to triple by the early 1970s.
The area was expanding, and planners were busy figuring out how to accommodate the influx of people, including some visionary folks who knew that smart water resource management was going to be a necessary part of the area’s growth. Enter the creation of a new special district called the Fort Collins-Loveland Water District.
When the FCLWD was officially created in 1961, its customer base was just a miniscule fraction of current numbers, but the mission was just as strong then as it is today: To provide high-quality, secure, reliable and affordable water to customers. Today, we’re so excited and proud that our mission now serves over 63,000 customers. What a journey it’s been!
District accomplishments over the past six decades
You can squeeze a lot of history into 63 years. You can also squeeze a lot of wins, and the FCLWD has a reserve of wins as robust as our water portfolio. Much of how the FCLWD shows up to “win” every day for the customer can be traced back to the mission laid out above but we also owe a lot to our founding core values, which shape everything that we do; from future planning tomorrow to customer service today.
Those core values are:
- Customer Service
So, what do our accomplishments look like? They’re big and small, publicly recognized, or sometimes just internally celebrated. They happen in real time (like our daily interactions with our customers) and over long periods (like new facilities and growth management). For the sake of brevity (and modesty), we’ll just touch on a few standouts.
One of the earliest (and perhaps longest-lasting) accomplishments at the FCLWD was an important early judgment by the Board of Directors to inventory water and make it available to developers and builders. This meant that when homes or businesses were built, water was available, eliminating the need for developers and builders to seek out water that would be added to the District and allowing the District to control where water was coming from and stay ahead of growth demands. In today’s big water squeeze, with new subdivisions along the Front Range fighting for access, the FCLWD’s decision to make “Growth Pay It’s Own Way” became a foundational mindset that has served the District and customers very well. In fact, it is one of the driving mantras of our approach to future planning.
Another equally important accomplishment over the last six decades has been the proactive building of a diversified water portfolio that will ensure our access to water into the future, including the championing of the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP).
Through a combination of proactive planning, innovative resource management and relationship building, we have been able to develop a resilient water portfolio that helps us meet current and future water needs. By accurately determining our needs, we have been able to secure sufficient water yield from the Colorado-Big Thompson Project and other native sources, supplemented by the purchase of additional sources such as Poudre River ditch rights.
As we look to the future, we are grateful to be in the strong position we are today, with our strategic approach to water resource management positioning us to succeed in the long-term. Though we’re 63,000 customers strong today, that number will continue to increase, and we’re focused on meeting demand.
Conservation has become a more recent accomplishment that we’re proud of at the District. Through a series of conservation programs that the FCLWD has brought to our customers, we’re helping everyone save money and become good stewards of our water. From discounts on smart sprinklers to free sprinkler checkups, we’re always looking for new ways to help customers save water, time and money.
Which leads us to the last accomplishment we’ll mention here: Building trust. Through regular communications with customers, partners and stakeholders, we’ve forged new relationships, uncovered new water opportunities and created a culture of transparency that speaks volumes. All of these efforts build trust, which is so incredibly important as the region grapples with water access.
What does the future hold?
What does the next 63 years hold in store for the District? We expect a lot of it will look like the last 63 years: A thriving community of people who love being a part of Northern Colorado; a community that believes it’s a privilege to live in Colorado, one that comes with the responsibility of being responsible water consumers.
On that note, the FCLWD will continue to be a leader in bringing sensible conservation tactics to our customers. We’ll also continue to pursue a diversified water portfolio and continue to apply innovative and collaborative thinking into how we unlock new water, manage current water and forge partnerships between water services, ditch companies and everyone else involved with bringing water to your faucet.
For today, though, let’s raise a glass of delicious Rocky Mountain water and toast to 63 years and 63,000 customers!