Water deal balances Denver, western Colo. needs

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Denver Water and leaders from the Western Slope are poised to announce details of an unprecedented agreement to supply water to the Denver area while also recognizing water and environmental needs of western Colorado.

Western Slope interests and Denver Water have been negotiating the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement for five years to try to balance Denver’s demand for water with needs of western Colorado, which provides most of the supply.

Roughly one in four Coloradans get their water from Denver Water. Nearly all of the utility’s supply for its 1.3 million customers comes from mountain snowmelt.

Parties that have seen parts of the agreement say it allows the Western Slope to have a say in future water projects by Denver Water. More details are to be released Thursday.