Water is emerging as one of the most important and controversial subjects to be addressed in the 21st century, and water issues are particularly complex. Understanding the nuances is critical for good decision-making. Out of this desire to educate today’s leaders on water, Northern Colorado is growing a new crop of water-literate leaders.

The Community Foundation of Northern Colorado is hosting the 5th cohort of the region’s community leaders in water conversation and solutions. These twenty leaders, including Benjamin Snow, Greeley’s Director of Economic Health and Housing, have committed to investing their time and energy to learn from experts and empower themselves to meet the everchanging water needs of our communities.

This year’s class includes four members from Greeley. The rest are from Estes Park, Evans, Fort Collins, Johnstown, Loveland, Timnath, and Windsor. Learn more about the Water Literate Leaders of Northern Colorado program and how to get involved.

Photo of WLL class at the edge of Chimney Hollow dam

In December, the class was hosted by Northern Water in Berthoud and included a tour of the Chimney Hollow Reservoir. This $510 million new reservoir will be located just west of Carter Lake in Larimer County. Its 90,000 acre-feet of dedicated storage capacity will supply a reliable 30,000 acre-feet of water each year for future generations. Construction began in August 2021.

This project will not take water away from irrigated agriculture or other users but will utilize the water rights currently associated with the existing Windy Gap Project, which has been delivering water since 1985. Once built, Chimney Hollow Reservoir will provide the additional storage needed to improve the Windy Gap Project’s reliability for its participants and constituents, of which Greeley is a major partner and beneficiary.

Proposed Chimney Hollow Facilities map

Chimney Hollow Reservoir Project rendering