Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

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Here's an update on the hearings over the proposed Box Elder Creek groundwater basin, from the Sterling Journal Advocate. From the article, "Another chapter in the continuing battle for water along the South Platte River is being written this week before Colorado Ground Water Commission hearing examiner Jody Grantham. Nine days have been set aside for a hearing on the request of the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District and a group of farmers in the Kersey area to create a new designated ground water basin, about 45 miles long and 3 to 5 miles wide, for Box Elder Creek. They claim the mostly dry creek is not a contributing tributary to the South Platte River, so water pumped from about 380 wells in the proposed ground water basin should not have to be returned to the river...

"Lined up to oppose the petition are several of the same cities, reservoirs and ditch companies that forced the State Engineer's office to shut down about 440 wells in Weld, Adams and Morgan Counties last spring when the irrigators could not prove they had augmentation water. Central attorney Andy Jones said about 50 of the red-tagged wells are in the proposed new designated ground water basin. The petition's opponents include the city of Sterling, the North Sterling, Fort Morgan and Jackson Lake irrigation districts, the Hudson-based Henrylyn Irrigation District and the Farmers Reservoir and Irrigation District...

"The hearing, which is scheduled to run through next Tuesday, is being held in the third-floor hearing room of the Department of Natural Resources in downtown Denver. A block away at the State Capitol, many of the same arguments are being heard over Brighton Democrat Rep. Mary Hodge's bill to change the operating rules for filling reservoirs. Hodge could not be reached for comment on reports she is planning a significant rewrite of her House Bill 1124, which has yet to be scheduled for a committee hearing. Scheduled for a hearing this week before the House Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources is a bill (HB 1036) from Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, which would prohibit the state or any political subdivision from using their power of eminent domain to obtain water rights. And Pueblo-area Democrat Rep. Buffie McFadyen is trying again to pass a bill that would allow water courts to set standards for water quality in major trans-basin diversions of water that involve a change of use. Her House Bill 1132 also is scheduled for hearing before the House Agriculture Committee."

Category: Colorado Water

6:19:51 AM    

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The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel has a report about the proposed Blue Mesa Pumpback. From the article, "The Colorado Water Conservation Board is considering supporting language in a proposed state water projects bill that would prevent a Blue Mesa Reservoir pumpback study from occurring until the state knows if the Gunnison Basin has enough water available to be pumped to the Front Range. With expected bill sponsors Sen. Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus, and Rep. Kathleen Curry, D-Gunnison, by their side, board members Tuesday evening tabled a vote on the bill's language until this morning, concluding an hours-long debate over the involvement of the state's water basin roundtables in the development of assessments of Colorado's statewide water needs. The bill is still being written, but its sponsors are pushing their Friday deadline for Isgar to introduce it into the Senate. The board was presented with possible language for the bill strongly supported by Curry that would appropriate $500,000 to the state to evaluate water projects that would address statewide water supply, including a Blue Mesa Reservoir pumpback. But the language included a provision preventing the water board from evaluating a trans-basin diversion project without a written request from the roundtable whose basin would be the source of the diversion. In other words, a study of the Blue Mesa Reservoir pumpback would require written approval from the Gunnison Basin Roundtable...

"After much debate, the sharply divided board scuttled the proposal, choosing instead to consider a compromise with language that allows for the board's consideration of trans-basin diversions as long as the basin whose water may be diverted participates in the development of a proposed project's scope of work. That language, suggested by board member Harold Miskel of the Arkansas River Basin, included a stipulation specifically preventing the state from studying a possible Blue Mesa pumpback without first knowing if enough water exists in the Gunnison Basin for the pumpback to be feasible."

Category: Colorado Water

6:06:59 AM    

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Two water projects on the west slope are being funded by loans from the Colorado Water Conservation Board, according to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. From the article, "Board members approved a $250,000 loan for De Beque to build a new 3,000-foot pipeline from the Colorado River and a pump station to supply the entire town with irrigation water. The current system is deteriorating and supplies only about half of the town's residents with irrigation water, said Kirk Russell, loan marketer for the board's Water Supply Planning and Finance Section. The loan will provide 70 percent of the cost of the $370,000 project, which is expected to begin later this year.

"The board also will send a $1.2 million loan to the Mesa-based Bull Creek Reservoir, Canal and Power Co. to enlarge a small reservoir on Grand Mesa. The company is required to complete the $1.33 million project on Bull Creek Reservoir No. 4 to honor an agreement with the state engineer to avoid abandonment of 229 acre-feet of restricted water storage rights, according to a CWCB memo on the project. The reservoir, sitting at 10,000 feet at the top of Grand Mesa, is one of five the company operates on the mesa for late-season irrigation. The water right was listed for abandonment in 2001, following a filling restriction the State Engineer's Office placed on the reservoir in 1984 because of safety problems with its dam."

Category: Colorado Water

5:56:55 AM    

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