See How MWH Did It


Many of the beneficiaries of Colorado’s Southern Delivery System (SDS) were children – or not even born – when the idea for this project was first raised in the 1990s. Since then, many visionary community and regional leaders have grappled with a future where more water would be needed to maintain a healthy economy and quality of life. In 2010, MWH accepted the challenge to support Colorado Springs Utilities (Utilities) and its regional partners, and manage the creation of a water delivery infrastructure that would feed thirsty residents and businesses for generations to come. With the right teamwork, idea sharing and world-class program management, the team led by the Utilities and MWH is completing the project ahead of schedule and more than $156 million (USD) under budget. The project brings water from the Arkansas River stored in Pueblo Reservoir to Colorado Springs and its partner communities in Fountain, Security and Pueblo West. Along the way, the project provided a stimulus to local economies, creating jobs for local contractors and suppliers, and helping communities to minimize the effects of future drought.   



Our approach included detailed planning on all design and construction aspects and answered the call for integrated program management of the highly complex undertaking. The program management team worked seamlessly – as if one organization. We built a new North Outlet Works adjoining Pueblo Dam that will serve SDS and other communities for decades to come, and installed about 50 miles of predominately 66-inch diameter raw water pipeline across multiple, high desert terrains, including residential areas, farm land and cattle grazing areas. We tunneled for more than a mile underneath a major interstate highway to carry the pipeline to three new water pump stations and, ultimately, to a new 50-mgd water treatment facility located in eastern Colorado Springs. Progress continued even as city agencies and communities fought sweeping wildfires that raged along the Front Range, giving residents and businesses the prospect of better days ahead.
Throughout the process, Utilities leadership and the project team members from across all MWH operations maintained an exceptional focus on value management. Working more than 2.4 million hours across 20 project areas, the team guided a wide range of local subcontractors, suppliers and other specialists in delivering a program that met all commitments made to the local communities. SDS is on track to achieve permit compliance for all aspects of construction – a challenging but necessary requirement for project delivery – and which served to achieve real value for ratepayers. The collaboration with MWH led to a reduction in project costs and overall reductions in water rate increases necessary to fund the project.

MWH worked closely with Utilities on other fronts to establish and leverage relationships with partner agencies in the communities, such as fire and law enforcement, and to enhance worker and community safety during construction. We helped Utilities fulfill its commitment to building an environmentally responsible project by protecting sensitive areas and wildlife habitats throughout construction. We supported critical community outreach efforts by helping to keep local residents and businesses informed and involved throughout the project – an achievement that earned the American Water Works Association’s 2015 Public Communications Achievement Award. The project also earned 2014 Project of the Year and Large Structure awards from the American Public Works Association, 2014 Best Project Award in Water and Environment from ENR Mountain States, and 2014 Top Project from Water & Wastes Digest, to name just a few.

Delivering the right skills at the right time with the right team goes a long way toward Building a Better World. Though the Southern Delivery System was decades in the making, the efforts of MWH and the determined Utilities team have given the growing region’s residents and businesses a water future that was worth the wait.