Ground Broken On Important Phase Of Southern Delivery System

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Managers overseeing a nearly $1 billion project report they’ve past a major milestone. Work is beginning on a key piece of the Southern Delivery System, which will pipe millions of gallons of water across southern Colorado when completed.

A ground-breaking ceremony was held Tuesday for a new pump house at Lake Pueblo State Park.

Supervisors say it’s a job that relies heavily on local workers and businesses.

The raw materials are in place: pipes and a plot carved out for a piece of the SDS big picture.

A new pump station will sit near Pueblo Reservoir. It will be a crucial part of moving all the water through SDS and a big job for a southern Colorado business.

"I think we ship about 65 percent of our production out of state, so it's nice to have one right here close,” said Joe Welte. Welte is the president of Summit Brick Company in Pueblo, which will provide the brick façade for the pump house, and materials for two others along the SDS pipeline.

More than 300 local businesses are involved in the nearly $1 billion project, which is still months away from getting water to Pueblo West, Colorado Springs and other southern Colorado communities.

"Not only is it providing jobs for people in this region at a time jobs are needed, it's also going to provide us with water for the next 50 years," said Colorado Springs Utilities CEO Jerry Forte.

There will be a total of three pump houses built for the SDS. About $25 million of the overall cost to build them will benefit local businesses. Managers said Tuesday people who live in Pueblo West should be getting water from the SDS in the fall of 2014.

Colorado Springs and greater El Paso County are projected to have access in 2016.