In their proposed draft rules, Arkansas River Irrigation Consumption Rules advisory committee members added stipulations allowing almost all surface water irrigation efficiency practices in the upper basin. Discussion of the Nov. 26 advisory committee proposal was among agenda items recently during the regular meeting of Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District directors in Salida. Proposed rules are to ensure compliance with the Arkansas River Compact, an agreement between Colorado and Kansas regarding water use. When approved, rules will regulate use of more efficient modern irrigation systems and ditch lining techniques.
"The heart of the issue is Article IV-D," of the compact, local consultant Ken Baker said. He represents the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District on the committee. That article allows future development of river basin resources if development doesn't "materially deplete" downstream flow...
The draft proposal of efficiency rules regulates use of measures, such as ditch lining and sprinkler systems within the hydrological-institutional model domain and extends special consideration for those outside it. Surface water irrigation efficiency practices in place outside the H-I domain active rule date will be "grandfathered" under the proposal. Additional practices initiated after the agreement effective date will be granted a general permit if:
- The upper valley water rights are senior to April 1, 1884.
- They are in selected tributaries with a local call.
"The way the rules are written right now, we'd support them," Terry Scanga, Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District general manager, said.
Consumptive use rules are subject to review by officials in Kansas...
Proposed draft rules are available at the Department of Water Resources Web site, http://water.state.co.us/wateradmin/arkansasriver/20081126_WorkingDraft.pdf.