Prairie Waters System

Prairie Waters is an innovative indirect potable reuse system that uses a sustainable water source by recapturing river water to provide drought insurance and as a cornerstone of a long-term water supply plan; the plan will help meet Aurora’s water needs for decades. Prairie Waters uses a multi-barrier treatment process with both natural cleansing from riverbank filtration and state-of-the-art purification technology, including ultraviolet advanced oxidation. The process delivers an additional 3.3 billion gallons of water per year. Prairie Waters can ultimately be expanded to provide up to 18 billion gallons.

Under Colorado’s Prior Appropriations System, Aurora owns rights to water in the South Platte River Basin, which includes water from the Colorado and Arkansas River Basins, as well as agricultural rights purchased from willing buyers. In most cases, Aurora’s water rights in the South Platte allow the city to use the water “to extinction.” Essentially, this means that the water residents use to wash laundry, shower, or even in some cases water their lawns, stays in the South Platte River Basin. This water resource that was never native to the South Platte basin, so Aurora has the right to take an equivalent amount back out of the river.