Historical Sketch of a Mountain Reservoir System.

For thirty-seven years Colorado Springs, Colo., has been at work improving its water supply, and the history and development of its system chronicles the perseverance and farsightedness of its citizens. Each succeeding year has shown progress, so that today the city possesses a system that for capacity, utility and purity of its water is far ahead of most cities of its size. Towards attaining this consummation Colorado Springs has, of course, enjoyed the advantages that spring from its location, which obtains for it the full benefit of several streams that rise in the snowfields of the western hills, to say nothing of an extensive chain of storage reservoirs, forming altogether a gravity system that probably no other city possesses. The finest enigneering skill has brought about thi> unique condition, while by constant attention and persistent effort the possibilities of contamination have been reduced to a minimum, and by wise and prudent business methods the waterworks system has been made not only self-supporting, but the producer of a large revenue to the municipality. Before 1878 the city detrended chiefly on wells for its water sup ply. 1 hese were sunk in various parts of the town. The first was at the present Huerfano street and Cascade avenue, the only successful well of many that had been attempted before; another was in North Park; another, near the present Colorado college -the last two remaining dry till the water began to flow freely in the ditches which were afterwards constructed for the purpose of bringing in a supply from the north. As the well then filled up, it showed that the source of supply was surface-water and not an underground flow. In the fall of 1873 grasshoppers in enormous numbers contaminated all the wells but one on the De La Vergnc ranch, from which water was brought to the citv by the hogshead and sold to the residents. The growth of the city necessitated the improvement of the supply, and in 1878, when the population was about 4,00, a bond issue of $80,000 was voted, and the contract was let to begin the initial construction work. A main was laid from Ruxton creek above Manitou to the Mesa in West Coin rado Springs, and a reservoir was built, its capacity being 1,125,003 gal. The cost of this work was $64,000. A 12-in. main brought the water through Cache la IYuidie street into the city, and was distributed by means of laterals. The intake was afterwards moved half a mile up the creek, and in 1886 Mesa reservoir No. 2 was built at a cost of $10,000. Its capacity was 9,000,coo gal. Six years afterwards a new 16-in. main, 31,565 ft. in length, was laid from Manitou to Colorado Springs at a cost of $13,547.21, and 5,352 ft. of 12-in. and 7.914 of 10-in. pipe were laid at a cost of $24,350.44 to bring the water from Bear creek to intercept the lines from Manitou at Colorado City. Next year the McShane ditch, 9,240 ft. in length and costing $8,000, was completed to carry the water from Middle Beaver creek across the Dead lake divide to the headwaters of Ruxton creek. In 1890 the city took title to the Pike’s Peak system property, and secured the land (784.48 acres) adjacent to the Moraine reservoir, and the work on the dam was started in July. I he elevation at the top of the dam was 10,246.76 ft. In the same year was begun the Beaver and Boehmer creek pipe-line, the object of which was to bring additional water from the Middle Beaver creek. I he elevation of the intakes was 11,105.21 ft. I he line is a 16-in. main from the Boehmer creek inlet to the outlet above lake Moraine— 8,350 ft., and from the Beaver to the junction of the two lines a 10-in. pipe—1,200 ft. The cost of this line was $31,457.72. The Beaver creek pipeline is an inverted syphon, the lowest point being 121.91 ft. lower than the intake, and the fall of the line is 37 42 ft. I bis line was completed and the water was turned in in August, 1891. In 1891, to protect the natural watercourse from lake Moraine reservoir to intake dam No. 5 from pollution and contamination, the city purchased the property from the lake to intake dam No. 5. In August, 1891, lake Moraine dam was completed at a cost of $38,500— making a storage capacity for lake Moraine reservoir of gal. Owing to the pollution of the water in Ruxton creek, above the intake to the city’s pipe-lines, the right of way for Ruxton pipe-line was purchased in 1891. The right of wav extended from Manitou to the city property above the Half-Way House. The line is 15.157 ft. long, 12,578.3 ft. being 14-in. and 2,5789 ft. 16-in. steel pipe. The elevation of the intake is 9.226.84 ft.; of the outlet, 6,667.6 ft. In 1893 the city threatened with a water famine, and the Timber Line flume, 4,030 ft. in length, was constructed to bring water from West Beaver shed to Boehmer creek shed, t a cost of $5,000, for temporary relief. In September of this year work on the dam of reservoir No. 2 was begun, and was completed the following year. The capacity of this reservoir is 97,ooo.oco gal.; the cost was $16,500,000; elevation of dam, 11,300 ft. The Jones Park ditch was piped in 1895 with 15-in. sewer-tile for a distance of 6,327 ft., at a cost of $2,650, to carry the water of North Cheyenne creek to Bear creek. The dams for reservoirs Nos. 7 and 8 were also started in 1895 and completed in 1896. The elevation of dam No. 7 is 12,099 ft.; cost, $22,000; capacity, 75,000,coo gal. Reservoir No. 7 is the highest of the system. The elevation of reservoir No. 8 is 11,685.75; its cost was $58,500; capacity, 472,000,000 gal. In 1896, to protect the watershed still further, as well as to secure perpetual control of the watershed of the Pike’s Peak system, the city acquired, by act of Congress and the payment of $3,875 to the government, title to 3,100.14 acres— all the land embracing the Pike’s Peak system east from lake Moraine. The city also purchased in 1896 162.12 acres adjoining lake Moraine reservoir on the south and east. In March, 1896, Strickler tunnel was begun. The tunnel is a bore 4 ft. by 7. 2,480 ft. in length, through a spur from Pike’s Peak. It was completed four years later, in November, 1930. It carries the water from the east branch of West Beaver, where are located reservoirs Nos. 7 and 8, to the Middle Beaver, above reservoir No. 2. The elevation of the west portal is 11,537.4; grade, 0.50 per cent. In 1902, the property known as the Seven Lakes, containing 600 acres, was purchased by the city at a cost of $69,000. Title was also acquired to 2,200.95 acres by an act of Congress and the payment of $1.25 an acre. This gave a total acreage on the Pike’s Peak region of 7.137.69 acres, and absolute control of the entire district. Work was begun on reservoirs Nos. 4 and 5 of the Seven Lakes system in February, 1904, and water was turned into No. 5 in 1905. The elevation of reservoir No. 5 is 10,930 ft.; its area, 100.71 acres; its cost, $47,014.95; its capacity, 669,540,149 gal. Reservoir No. 4, which is the largest in the system, has not yet been utilised, owing to leaks developing in its dam. It covers 121 acres and has a capacity of 864.544,000 gal. It will cost about $160,000. The St. John tunnel was constructed in the years 1903 and 1904, for the purpose of diverting the water from Middle Beaver creek and reservoirs Nos. 2, 4 and 5 into lake Moraine, Its length is 2.3S5 ft.; its cost, $61,142.48. To give better service to the north and east sections of the city, the High-Line reservoir, with a capacity of 15,907.000 gal., was constructed during 1903-4. It cost the city nearly $20,000. To carry water from the settlers at Manitou to the High-Line reservoir, and thence to Madison street, Colorado Springs, a portion of a steel pipe line, 16 in. and 24 in. in size, was laid in 1904. The entire line, however, was not completed until 1906. Middle Beaver creek was connected with the pipe-line running from reservoir No. 5 to the St. John tunnel in 1906, to allow the water from the creek to How into reservoir No. 5 without passing through reservoir No. 4. The system is thus divided into three parts —the mountain, transmission and distributing. The first consists of reservoirs 7 and 8, the water for which is brought by the Strickler tunnel. Reservoir No. 2 is a short distance below the eastern portal of the tunnel. Reservoirs 4 and 5 occupy the Seven Lakes basin, bringing water to the Ruxton creek shed and the lake Moraine by the Beaver creek pipeline and the St. John tunnel, the water from lake Moraine flowing in an open channel to the main intake above the Half-Way House, which also receives the Lion creek water. Close by are the intakes that take the water front South Ruxton, Cabin and Sheep creeks. A short distance from Bear lake canon, west of Colorado City, is the intake for Bear creek. Before High-Line and Nos. 4 and 5 reservoirs were built, the estimated capacity of the city reservoirs was 1,146,408,000 gal. With these three it is storage capacity 2.696,410,000 gal.—an increased capacity of 1.15 per cent. The capacity of No. 4. the largest reservoir of the system, is estimated’ at 864,544,810 gal.—about thirty per cent, larger than lake Moraine, whose estimated capacity is _92,168,oooa ery little larger than that of reservoir No. 8. fhe total cost of the improvements connected vith the purchase of the Seven Lakes site (upon which Nos. 4 and 5 are built), the construction of the reservoirs, the St. John tunnel. High-Line reservoir and main and auxiliary pipe lines is $500,000. nearly about one-third of the total amount of bonds .outstanding issued on account of the waterworks. The whole system is connected by telephone with lake Moraine, which, in turn, is connected with the local telephone system. Good roads connect the different portions, except the higher part, where arc located Nos. 7 and 8 and Strickler tunnel. When No. 4 is filled, the road between it and lake Moraine will be under water. and it will be necessary to construct one at a higher level. The transmission system consists of the Ruxton creek pipe-line of 14-in. and 16-in. pipe, which follows the line of the Cog road from the main intake to the settler in Manitou. Its carrying capacity is estimated at 17.000,000 gal. per 24 hours. Since the operation by the Pike’s Peak Hydro-Electric comnanv of their power plant at Manitou, the city’s line has not been used, except when the plant was not running, and the supply has been brought through the compam’s 21-in. pipe-line, connected at the Half-Way House with the city’s line, to their plant in Manitou. The carrying capacity of this line is greater than that of the city’s. From tlie settlers in Manitou to the Mesa reservoirs, west of the city, there are two lines, the 8-in.. which was laid when the system was constructed, and the 16-in., laid in from these portions of the city are served direct. I he line last constructed is of 24-in steel pipe, to Adams’ crossing, where it is connected with the 16 in. pipe which supplies the High-Line rest ir. The carrying capacity of the S’-in. and 16-in. lines is estimated at 6,500,000 gal. for twenty-four hours. The capacity of the 10-irt. line from Bear creek, connected with the latter at Colorado City, is es timated at 1,033,000 gal. per day. As at present connected, the capacity of the new line is estimated at 8,500.000 gal., which couJd be increased by 7,500,000 gal. by the construction of another 16-in. line from Adams’ crossing. I ne distributing system consists of the lines from the High1 ine and Mesa reservoirs to the city and the service mains laid within the city. The constructs. n of the dams for reservoirs Nos. 4 and 5 was begun in 1904 and completed in February, 1905. The original plan for filling reservoir No. was by means of a pipe line from No. 4. In order to have an independent source of supply for it. construction has been commenced of a pipe-line, about 1,500 ft. in length, from an intake on Sackett creek to connect with the pipe-line running from the St. John tunnel to No. 5. Owing to delay in receiving a consignment of pipe, it was not possible to complete it during the past year. In the proposed scheme of the enlargement of the system by the construction of reservoirs Nos. 4 and 5 and the St. John tunnel was included the construction of the High-Line reservoir, on the Mesa west of the city, and the laying of the 24-in. pipe-line to Adams’ crossing and the 16 in. line from there to the reservoir. The 16-in. line and the reservoir were completed in 1904. The laying of the 24011. line was delayed on account of the difficulty in securing a right-of-way through Manitou. A settlement was arrived at early in 1906 by the payment to Manitou of the sum of $20,000, in return for which the city secured the right to lay that line, and, in addition, the privilege of replacing, should it desire to do so in the future, with pipe of larger size, either the 8-in. or 16-in. lines. The 24-in. line was constructed in the spring of 1906. I he water rights still form the subject of litigation between the city and outside parties. Separate and distinct from the domestic supply, Colorado Springs owns and operates an irrigation system, which has been the direct means of beautifying the city and making its parks, trees, lawns, shrubs and flowers a source of attraction to residents and visitors. The principal feed of the irrigation system is through the El Paso canal, a ditch which brings water into the northen part of the city, where it is emptied into the ‘street ditches, fn ifVyo. Prospect lake was constructed for the purpose of storing water for irrigation purposes, at a cost of $15,750. Its capacity is 367,500,000 gal., the elevation of the dams, 6,095.70 ft. To convey water from Monument creek to Prospect lake, the Tenney ditch was purchased by the city in 1891, but was abandoned after two years’ use. In 1894, the irrigation system was extended by the construction of Pike View reservoirs Nos. 1 and 2, the Monument creek pipe-line and the Monument flume and pipe-line. 1 he combined capacity of the two Pike View reservoirs is 89. 250,000 gal.; the combined cost of construction. $23,433.30. Monument creek pipe line connects Pike View reservoirs Nos. 1 and 2, and continues from Pike View reservoir No. 2 to the northern most part of the city a distance of 6,625 ft. The Monument creek flume is 4 ft. by 3.7 ft.. 2,550 ft. in length, conveying water from the Monument creek to Pike View reservoir No. 1. At the headgate of the flume is a submerged 24 in. tiling along the creek for 2.300 ft., for the seepage underground The storage capacity of this system for sprinkling and park and fire protection purposes is 61,000,000 gals. To per feet its irrigation system, as well as its domestic supply, the city las purchased many valuable water rights. Among the projected improve ments is the laying of a new 12-in. extension on Hancock street from Cache la Poudre street to Pike’s Peak avenue. It will furnish a better supply to the southeastern section of the city. Additional storage facilities and an independent pipe-line for the irrigation system are also contemplated. There are 3K4 hydrants set and 1,105 valves. One hundred and sixteen meters are installed; 10,822 taps are in service, and in the entire domestic system are laid 1159° miles of main (20 in. to tVa-in.), besides 2.84 for the Man high line—total, 118.74 miles. R. J. Verner is superintendent of the waterworks department.

Timber Line Flume, Constructed in 1893, Colorado Springs.Western Portal St. John Tunnel Pikes Peak Dam of Reservoir No. 4 Reservoir No. 5.


Intake to Strickler Tunnel, Colorado Springs..Reservoir No. 8, Colorado Springs. Pike’s Peak.Reservoir No. 2, from Trail Above, Colorado Springs.Reservoirs Nos. 4 and 5, from Summit of Mount Baldy, Colorado SpringsLake Morain, from Dead Lake Divide.

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