The Windy Gap Firming Project (WGFP) is a disastrous proposed water development project that would divert additional Colorado River water from the western slope in Grand County to Colorado’s sprawling Front Range and dirty energy industries. The project would take even more water out of the Upper Colorado River, already reduced from its natural flows by 60 percent. Increased diversions from the Colorado River will impact endangered fish species and the state’s outdoor recreation economy. Much of the project water diverted from the Colorado River will be used to water more suburban lawns on the Front Range. The project will also divert a large amount of Colorado River water to the largest source of pollution in Northern Colorado, a coal fired power plant, while some of the cities who will receive water from the project like Greeley are currently selling large amounts of water to the oil and gas industry for fracking.
The Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District (NCWCD) claims the Windy Gap Project infrastructure is unable to deliver enough water to users because of limited storage capacity in Granby Reservoir and limited delivery capacity of the Adams Tunnel, which delivers water from Grand Lake to the East Slope. The proposed WGFP would include the construction of a new 90,000 acre-feet (AF) Chimney Hollow Reservoir and a new pipeline connection from the reservoir to existing East Slope infrastructure. The NCWCD is currently seeking approval for the project from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.