Cache la Poudre River

White-water rafters on the Cache la Poudre River outside of Fort Collins.

Larimer County commissioners have rejected a proposal by one of Denver's fast-growing northern suburbs to build a 75-mile water pipeline from reservoirs north of Fort Collins.

That's after Thornton officials spent more than a year trying to craft a pipeline plan acceptable to its northern neighbors.

Hundreds of area residents at Monday night's county commission meeting "broke into applause at the official vote that unanimously rejected the pipeline proposal," says the Loveland Reporter Herald.

Thornton is now left with the choice of developing another plan to transport the water or suing the county, the Fort Collins Coloradoan reports.

Either way, Thornton officials say they may have to delay the planned 2019 groundbreaking for the pipe. The city says it needs the pipe to be finished by 2025.

Thornton acquired rights to the Cache la Poudre River water when it acquired dozens of farms in the drainage decades ago.

Officials in Thornton — population 136,978 in 2017, up 15 percent from 2010, the Census Bureau says  say the pipe would carry enough water from the Poudre River to quench the thirst of city residents through 2060.

But as the Associated Press has reported, Larimer County residents along the proposed pipeline route have complained about the possible impacts of construction, saying Thornton did not consult or listen to them when it announced the route.

Environmentalists want Thornton to extract its water from a point farther downstream on the Poudre, which flows through Fort Collins. Thornton rejects that idea as impractical, partly because it would need to build new water storage facilities.

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