Why can't we all just get along? Oh yeah, we're talking about water in Colorado. Conflict is endemic. According to the Durango Herald the Southwestern Water Conservancy District may be heading to court to stop Durango's plans for a whitewater and boating park.
From the article, "Southwestern believes that recent actions by city councilors and staff members threaten to scuttle six months of negotiations between the two entities. Among issues debated are the protection of water rights of upstream residents and how much water the city wants for its boating park.
"Board members, in a telephone conference Wednesday, went into closed session to discuss strategy. No announcements were forthcoming.
"The city of Durango studied two possible sites for the boating park - an existing course at Smelter Rapid, which would be expanded, and Schneider Park at the Ninth Street Bridge. The Smelter site is the recommended one. The city tentatively is seeking flows through the Smelter course ranging from 185 cubic feet per second to 1,400 cfs during two weeks in June.
"Disputes over recreational water parks have become common statewide with the increased interest in white-water sports.
"In Durango, city councilors appeared ready Tuesday evening to approve an application to the state for a Recreational In-Stream Diversion without incorporating apparently agreed on language. In the end, councilors scheduled a special meeting, including a closed discussion, today to debate further.
"The main issue before councilors Tuesday was whether to file an application with a water court and amend it later. Protests by upstream water users also would be dealt with later.
"Councilor Sidny Zink said such an approach gives city staff members too much discretion. Colleague Doug Lyons said the city has a 'moral obligation' to upstream water users.
"If protective language is left out of the application, about 100 water users upstream from Durango who don't have official (court-approved) water rights could be out of luck if Durango gets court-approved water for its boating park. The upstream residents would have to fight the issue in court...
"Southwestern, an alliance of water interests from Pagosa Springs to the Utah line, also is worried about water availability for future development north of Durango."
Category: Colorado Water