“In Colorado, whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting.”
It’s an old cliché, but there is a lot of truth to it.
For most of our state’s history, cities, towns and water districts have engaged in a not-so-friendly competition to secure water for their growing communities.
Simply put, water is life. You can’t start your day without it. It’s essential to everything we do. In Northern Colorado, water is highly visible. You see water in our streams and rivers, but it’s also there when you wash your hands. Water is in a farmer’s crops that become food on our table, and in a child’s joy as she splashes in a kiddie pool.
The truth is, water is too important to our community to let competition decide – typically in the form of the entity that has the most money, or legal resources to wage expensive battles in court.
That’s why more than two decades ago, a large group of Northern Colorado municipal water providers and water districts gathered. On the agenda was a discussion of the projected water needs for a growing region and the futility of continuing past practices of each one pursuing its own interests independently.
Attendees agreed that a new spirit of cooperation and coordination was necessary, replacing the harmful practices of competition for scarce resources.
At the table that day were representatives of the Fort Collins-Loveland Water District, who saw the vision for a regional water project that would benefit current and future customers. Soon, along with 14 other entities, the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) began to take shape.
“Since its creation in 1961, the Fort Collins-Loveland Water District has maintained a proactive, long-term view to ensure our continued ability to achieve our mission of providing high quality, secure, reliable, and affordable water,” said District Manager Chris Matkins. “District Board Members at the turn of the century saw the critical need for NISP, a need that has only grown more apparent in the 21 years since.”
In addition to much-needed reliable water supplies, NISP will enhance recreation opportunities for anglers, kayakers, hikers, and anyone who enjoys an active outdoor lifestyle at the new Galeton Reservoir north of Fort Collins. NISP also will support environmental and wildlife stewardship while introducing an innovative program that supports our neighbors in agriculture.
For more information on NISP, visit the project website at www.nispwater.org.