Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

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State Senator Jim Isgar's bill designed to clarify water rights for whitewater parks (SB37 - Concerning the Adjucation of Recreation In-Channel Diversions) was passed by the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee on Thursday, according to the Durango Herald. From the article, "A bill to change kayakers' water rights cruised through a Senate committee Thursday, despite opposition from boaters and mountain towns...

"Recreational water rights are fairly new in Colorado, and cities with kayak parks have spent a lot of money in court fights with other water interests...

"But representatives of Avon, Vail, Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs and other cities opposed several other parts of the bill. First, it limits water rights to kayak parks and excludes applications based on tubing, canoeing, river surfing and other sports.

"It also lets the water court reconsider its decision to grant a right for 20 years after a city wins its case, if the court decides the water isn't being used.

"And it tells the state engineer - who regulates the flow of rivers - not to supply water for a kayak park unless at least 90 percent of the water requested is available. The restriction will keep cities from applying for more water than they absolutely need, Isgar said.

"But Drew Peternell of Trout Unlimited said the 90-percent plan will make kayak water rights all but worthless in drought years...

"Isgar, however, said the bill shouldn't be judged on what happens during a drought. 'We all have a problem in dry years,' Isgar said.

Category: Colorado Water

7:42:26 AM    

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The Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District voted last week to let eastern Fremont county join the district, according to the Cañon City Daily Record. From the article, "A group of citizens concerned about Colorado's water rights banded together Friday to form a loosely-knit group that will take its plea for the inclusion of eastern Fremont County in the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District to voters.

"The UAWCD Inclusion Committee aims to gather approximately 5,000 signatures to ensure it has enough support to force the question of inclusion on the coordinated ballot in November. The issue would affect residents of both the Cañon City and Florence-Penrose school districts.

"The number of signatures required would be equal to 10 percent of affected registered electors, plus an additional 25 percent of affected agricultural land owners. Sandefur said there are 23,370 registered elec-tors and 4,132 agricultural land owners who qualify to sign petitions.

"A similar attempt to gain a place on the ballot was thrown out by District Judge David Thorson last July, when he ruled that the petition process was just shy of the necessary number of signatures. In that attempt, 521 valid signatures fell 19 short of the 540 needed to place the issue on the ballot.

"John Sandefur, co-chairman of the new committee with George Hugins, said the group is concerned with protecting water rights in Fremont County...

"The Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District voted to support the committee's efforts for inclusion at a board meeting Thursday. Terry Scanga, general manager of the district, said Friday that two terms and conditions had been placed on the agreement by the board."

Category: Colorado Water

7:22:07 AM    

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