Currently, the Colorado and Arkansas River basins provide approximately 50% of Aurora’s total water supply, which is transported through the Otero Pipeline. The pipeline transports Aurora’s existing water rights to Spinney Mountain Reservoir, currently the sole location to store this water.

Water to fill Wild Horse would be transported through the Otero Pipeline. The reservoir would be off-channel, meaning no river or stream flows into or out of the reservoir. Aurora would not need to seek any new water rights or decrees as part of the Wild Horse project. From Wild Horse, the water would be sent to Spinney Mountain Reservoir through a new pipeline. From Spinney, the water would be released downstream via the South Platte River before making its way into Aurora’s water system and distributed to Aurora Water customers as needed.

Having an additional high-country reservoir would give Aurora more flexibility in its water management at Spinney Reservoir. It would allow Aurora to capture available water in wet years from the South Platte River basin and store it in Spinney.

Aurora Water will continue to follow all mandated and voluntary operational flow agreements for Spinney. Aurora aligns its operations with voluntary agreements outlined in the 2003 South Platte Protection Plan.

Pueblo Reservoir

Aurora leases storage space in Pueblo Reservoir to hold some of its water rights. At times, Aurora cannot use its space in Pueblo Reservoir due to lease restrictions. In these conditions, Aurora either leases the water to others or spills it downstream. Wild Horse would give Aurora the flexibility to move these water rights through the Otero Pipeline for storage in Wild Horse.

Aurora Water Supply Map