- The Washington Times - Monday, January 10, 2000

GOLDEN, Colo. Leaders of this quaint beer-brewing town famous for its pure Rocky Mountain spring water are asking residents to use more of it quickly.
City Manager Mike Bestor confirmed that the town stored too much of its celebrated water in preparation for possible disasters stemming from the year-2000 computer bug.
The solution? Take more baths, he said. Two or three a day if possible.
"We filled the tanks just in case the world ended or the electricity supply ended," said Mr. Bestor wryly. "The problem is, it gets stale like any other product."
Dan Hartman, the city's public works director, said he filled every tank in town, storing 13 million gallons, enough for five days. But instead of flushing out the excess through fire hydrants, city officials are hoping Goldenites will take it upon themselves to find creative uses for the town's unusually abundant water supply.
"Everyone would have to do in one day what they normally do in three," said Mr. Bestor. "So you could take three baths instead of one; drink more water, or fulfill your New Year's resolution and clean the house."
As Mr. Hartman put it, "If people in Golden want to make us the cleanest little town in the West, we're ready for them."
Before outsiders tag Golden as a hotbed of year-2000 paranoia, Mr. Bestor said they should know that most municipal water districts did exactly the same thing, just in case the power blew or residents began hoarding water.
"I'm sure almost every water system is in the same boat," he said. "It takes a lot of electricity to purify water and pump it into storage tanks. So I suspect plants all over the world filled their tanks in preparation for Y2K."
Indeed, Denver Water, the state's largest facility with 1 million customers, filled its underground treater-water reservoirs to the brim on Dec. 31. In Lakewood, Consolidated Mutual Water Co., which operates 22,000 taps, also loaded its tanks and reservoirs, but hasn't had to worry about throwing out its excess due to its larger customer base, said Vice President Bob Rivera.
"Of course we filled up on New Year's Eve, but now the water's already gone through the system," said Mr. Rivera. "Anyone who was responsible was doing the same thing as Golden. As much as [year-2000] was hyped, you'd be remiss if you didn't take precautions."
In fact, Mr. Hartman said he was criticized by local media for months for refusing to take more radical steps, such as buying a $250,000 backup generator. The city of 16,000 pumps its water upstream from Clear Creek, a river that runs through the community.
"Thankfully we didn't spend a quarter of a million. Now we're only going to lose a few thousand gallons of water," said Mr. Hartman.
The city typically keeps its available supply at a minimum in winter, when water usage dips to its annual low. The tank water can't sit indefinitely because over time it loses its "chlorine residual," which prevents bacteria and other organic matter from forming and contaminating the water.
A logical recipient of the oversupply would be the Adolph Coors Co., the manufacturer of Coors beer and the town's largest employer. For 50 years, the company touted Golden's uniquely pure mountain water as the secret ingredient in its brew.
As it turns out, however, Coors doesn't use the city's water in its beer: The company maintains its own supply from ground water, said spokesman Jon Goldman.
"We'd love to help out the city of Golden, but that's not the water we use to brew beer, unfortunately," said Mr. Goldman.

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