Taking care of Mother Nature, one day at a time

When it comes to protecting our most precious resource, every day is Earth Day.

April 22, 2019 | By: Cathy Proctor

Earth Day, April 22, is a day to celebrate and honor all that Mother Earth does for human life.

But what about the other 364 days?

Denver Water takes environmental stewardship seriously, every single day. The utility’s employees and its customers have taken steps big and small to protect and care for the earth.

So, in honor of Earth Day, here are a few examples of the many ways Denver Water is working to serve and support the environment every day.

Aerial view of the Moffat Treatment Plant in Lakewood.
Moffat Treatment Plant in Lakewood is Denver Water’s oldest active water treatment facility. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

Gathering and using data to improve

Denver Water not only tracks its greenhouse gas footprint, it uses that information and data to reduce its impact on the environment.

Denver Water is part of The Climate Registry, a nonprofit collaboration that sets consistent standards to calculate, verify and publicly report greenhouse gasses. For water utilities, this can include tracking and reporting data for pumping, fuel and treating water, such as at our Moffat Treatment Plant (above).

The moon glows in the sky at sunset while the dam is lit below.
Denver Water’s system has seven hydroelectric plants, including one at Williams Fork Dam. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

Using the power of water

Throughout history, people have tapped into the power of moving water. Denver Water’s system has seven hydroelectric plants, including this one (above) at Williams Fork Reservoir. The plants collectively generate more than enough energy to power all of the utility’s pump stations and water treatment plants.

Sprinkler and water conservation.
An efficient sprinkler system will give your lawn only what it needs to be green and healthy. Photo credit: iStock.

 

Being efficient with water

Denver Water isn’t alone when it comes to using water wisely. Customers also have done a lot over the years to use water as efficiently as possible.

During the summer of 2018, when temperatures regularly soared into the 90s, customers’ water use was more than 20 percent lower than water use during similarly hot, dry stretches in past years. The reduction came despite significant population growth.

You can keep up the efficiency ethic by checking out these tips and tools to use water wisely inside and outside your home.

Not all trash is the same. Denver Water employees can sort their trash for composting, recycling or the landfill.
Denver Water employees can sort their trash for composting, recycling or the landfill. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

Reducing our trash

In 2018, Denver Water’s employees diverted 60 tons of waste from Colorado’s landfills.

Throughout the year, employees separated their waste into bins dedicated for recycling, composting and trash. All told, some 41,163 pounds of waste were sent for composting. An additional 79,152 pounds of material was sent for recycling.

A series of big purple pipes dwarf a worker.
Inside Denver Water’s Recycling Plant. Photo credit: Denver water

 

Recycling and reusing water

Recycling and reusing the precious resources the earth provides is great for the environment. Denver Water has long recycled water for use in outdoor irrigation system and industrial operations. Seen here are purple pipes that carry the recycled water.

And in 2018, Denver Water took things to the next level, partnering with WateReuse Colorado on a demonstration project to clean and reuse water, which was then made into a craft beer to celebrate the utility’s 100th anniversary.

A stack of logs sits on the hillside under blue skies and white clouds.
Money from the From Forests to Faucets partnership was used to thin the forests around the Colorado Trail near Buffalo Creek. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

Protecting the source

As the water provider to 1.4 million people in the Denver metropolitan area, Denver Water directly depends on healthy forests and watersheds. Since 2010, the From Forests to Faucets partnership between Denver Water and the U.S. Forest Service has aimed to reduce the potential for destructive wildfires and, by doing so, protect water supplies and water quality.

That partnership expanded in 2018 to include the Colorado State Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Dave Bennett, water resource strategy director at Denver Water, shows off a rainbow trout caught in the restored section of the Fraser River.
Dave Bennett, water resource strategy director at Denver Water, shows off a rainbow trout caught in section of the Fraser River restored through the collaborative efforts of a group of Front Range and West Slope water interests to improve the health of rivers and streams in Grand County. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

Making history

The Colorado River Cooperative Agreement, signed in 2013, heralds a new approach to water in the West. Denver Water’s collaborations with West Slope partners bring strength and health to Colorado’s rivers and streams.

A woman in pink pants, dark coat and a helmet skis down the white slopes under blue skis.
Laurna Kaatz, a climate scientist for Denver Water, skis water in its frozen state. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

Celebrating Earth Day, every day

We work to celebrate and support the environment every day — and we have lots of fun along the way. Denver Water’s climate scientist, Laurna Kaatz, finds skiing a great way to connect with water.

Happy Earth Day!

3 thoughts on “Taking care of Mother Nature, one day at a time”

  1. Just to let you know, almost all recyclables were sent to China prior to 2018. After 2018 China is no longer taking our recyclables. So where do all the recyclables go? They are warehoused in recycling stations till they have no more room to store them. Then they end up in land fills anyways. Look it up. Its costing everyone more money to recycle and its doing no one any good. Do you think big rigs and heavy equipment used to move all that trash around run on magic ferry dust. When you recycle your just increasing your carbon footprint and you don’t even realize it.

    1. Hi Damon, Denver has been primarily sending its recycling to domestic markets for years as well as improving its own systems to reduce contamination. So, at least in Denver, we are still recycling and doing so much closer to home then China.

      1. Those so called “domestic markets” are just sorting centers, there’s a huge issue right now on what to do with all the recyclable’s. Alpine recycling is one of the largest recycling companies in Colorado and they are having issues on what to do with all recyclable’s. They upped there staff by 15% and are still having trouble keeping up with all the sorting they have to do, and then, you guessed it, send it to China and other countries that don’t care about the environment. Alpine has also had to slow down there production rates so the sorting is more consistent. Who do you think pays for all this extra work that has to be put in? We do. And if one solo cup gets missed in a bail of paper, guess what, China won’t take it and it go’s to a land fill. Before you make comments on things you obviously don’t know about please do the research. The information is out there look it up.

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