Colorado Water
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Monday, December 4, 2006

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Here's an update on Pure Cycle's development plans for Fort Lyons Canal water, from the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article, "A water developer with plans to pipe Arkansas Valley water to the Denver metro area is playing a waiting game, and it may be years before the company seeks court approval, let alone build a pipeline. 'It's a long-term project, no question,' said Mark Harding, president of Thornton-based Pure Cycle Corp. Pure Cycle completed its purchase of Fort Lyon Canal farms and water rights from High Plains A&M in late August, but there is no urgency to file a change of use case in Division 2 water court, where Chief District Judge Dennis Maes shot down High Plains' change request in 2004 as speculative...

"Pure Cycle plans to take a more cautious approach, and only after its current water resources are more fully put to use, Harding said. Harding has already outlined Pure Cycle's future plans for the Fort Lyon Canal board and will meet with shareholders at their annual meeting on Dec. 11. By purchasing the High Plains Farms, Pure Cycle became the ditch company's largest shareholder, with about 20 percent of the water rights and 17,500 acres of land, mostly north of Las Animas...

"In 1986, the Rangeview Metropolitan District entered a lease with the State Land Board for the water rights under the Lowry Range, a 26,000-acre tract of land southeast of Aurora once used for bombing runs from Lowry Air Force Base. Pure Cycle will be the water supplier and wastewater contractor for any future development on the property. In 1996, Pure Cycle assumed management of the groundwater, combining it with surface rights it owns on two creeks that flow through the Lowry Range The State Land Board's mission is to generate revenue from state trust lands for public education, and Lowry is one of its most valuable properties. Its role was refined by Amendment 16 in 1996 to include a Stewardship Trust to preserve conservation values as well. Currently, development is being confined to the northernmost portion of the Lowry Range, about 3,800 acres north of Quincy Avenue. The Land Board is considering three proposals to develop the land and a fourth that addresses conservation.

"Rangeview's lease allows Pure Cycle to move 40 percent of the water off the site. Pure Cycle also has plans - and conditional water rights - to build several reservoirs on the Lowry Range as well. Aurora could be a potential partner in one of the reservoirs, which it envisions as part of its $800 million indirect potable water reuse plan. The reservoir site is east of Aurora Reservoir and would initially be 15,000 acre-feet, but could expand to three times that size if there were other partners...

"Harding said there is enough water on site - 34,000 acre-feet annually between deep wells and surface rights - to serve 80,000 single-family connections. Its water from the Fort Lyon Canal - consumptive use of about 40,000 acre-feet annually - would more than double that capacity. The water moved off site by Pure Cycle would serve the Ranch development, which is located due north of Lowry near I-70. Reservoirs on the Lowry Range would recycle treated wastewater return flows into dual distribution systems for outdoor irrigation...

"'My philosophy is that you are better off to treat the water and deal with it at the site where you bought it,' Harding said. 'We're not looking at exchanges, which I don't think would be morally or legally right. A drop of water in the mountains or Pueblo Reservoir is a different quality of water than a drop of water in the Fort Lyon.' Beyond that, Harding wants to work with the Fort Lyon to improve water quality by improving irrigation efficiency and increasing the value of water that is used within the valley. Harding is open to the possibility of working with the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District's Super Ditch program or becoming a supplier for the Arkansas Valley Conduit envisioned by the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District."

Category: Colorado Water

6:14:32 AM    

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