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30 S. Nevada Avenue, Suite 502
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Phone: 719-385-5980
Fax: 719-385-5095
Contact: Stormwater
Hours: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

City of Colorado Springs / Stormwater / Drainage Basin Fee Program/Planning Studies

Drainage Basin Fee Program/Planning Studies

Drainage Basin Fee Program

The drainage basin fee program originated with the original drainage ordinance adopted by the City in 1963. The purpose of the ordinance was to address the urgent necessity of providing drainage and flood control facilities within developing areas to insure the health, safety and welfare of the public. Its intent was to make sure there was an equitable distribution of drainage costs in the development community. A fee per acre was established for each drainage basin in the City.

Drainage Basin Planning Study


The City of Colorado Springs uses engineering studies of drainage basins, called Drainage Basin Planning Studies (DBPSs), to identify drainage improvements needed in the city's fee basins and to establish drainage basin fees for development to pay for some of the needed capital improvements.



A new developer in a basin is responsible for providing drainage facilities and conveying stormwater runoff to an outfall point per the master drainage plan for that basin. If the cost of the facilities exceed the amount the developer is required to pay per the established fee, then he/she is eligible for reimbursement from the fees other developers in the basin are required to pay.

DBPSs are authorized as finances become available. Currently, the  Cottonwood Creek DBPS is being updated. If public funds are not available and land development in a specific drainage basin is causing the need for a new or updated DBPS, a specific land developer(s) may be required to finance a new or updated study, subject to conditions and requirements of the City Engineer. This is the case for the Jimmy Camp Creek DBPS currently being developed. The land developer(s) may be eligible for credit for the cost of the studies.

DBPSs show major aspects of the drainage system, including conduits, channels, detention/retention basins, culverts, etc. and evaluate opportunities to enhance environmental and recreational assets along drainageways. The studies include an estimate of the cost of providing the drainage facilities and can include the expense of the studies. Drainage fees are calculated for a basin by dividing the capital construction cost of the proposed drainage facilities by the number of un-platted acres in the fee basin. Fees are adjusted annually to account for inflation and local cost trends. Drainage fees are collected by the City on a per-acre basis at the time subdivision plats are recorded. Drainage fees are a method to spread out the cost of drainage facilities equally to all of the subdividers of land in a drainage basin. It is a cost recovery program, whereby cash fees that are paid by some developers are used to pay back other developers who construct facilities that exceed their fee obligation. The drainage basin fee system is currently under review by the City to see what changes to the program may be needed.