Senator Tapia’s bill to establish the Fountain Creek Watershed, Flood Control and Greenway district was approved by the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee hearing yesterday, according to Charles Ashby writing for the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:
The 60-page bill creates a district that has four boundaries, each with varying degrees of authority. The full boundaries of the district include all of El Paso and Pueblo counties, but the fee and taxing area called for in the bill is smaller than that, but larger than the actual Fountain Creek basin. The last, and smallest boundary is the flood plain area, a narrow strip that is nearly equal on both sides of the county line that extends from the south end of Fountain to Pueblo’s northern side. Only there would the district have powers over land-use issues.
Here’s an update on the stimulus bill’s effects on Colorado water projects, from Chris Woodka writing for the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:
About $30 million is being sought from the federal economic stimulus package by Colorado Springs for water projects already on the drawing board. Statewide requests from large cities total for at least $67 million in water projects, including about $32 million from Denver Water. The state has identified $180 million in shovel-ready projects and the Colorado Municipal League says more than $750 million in projects for 439 communities under 5,000 population are waiting in the wings. There are no guarantees that any of the requests would be funded, as the stimulus package would provide about $6.4 billion for water projects nationwide. Colorado already is dealing with the possibility of a $30 million cutback in mineral severance funding for water projects. On the other hand, the state is holding open its funds for water and wastewater projects until the stimulus impacts are clear…
The largest chunk requested from the economic stimulus pool by Colorado Springs is $13.3 million to maintain, rehabilitate and replace 20 wastewater crossings on tributaries to Fountain Creek. The crossings are in danger of overflows that could affect water quality. Colorado Springs also is asking for $5.8 million to improve a three-mile stretch of Fountain Creek at Clear Springs Ranch, located about 15 miles south of Colorado Springs. The project, one of four identified as part of the Corridor Master Plan, would improve conditions for fish, stabilize banks, protect wetlands and provide minor flood detention basins. The Clear Springs Project and stream crossings stabilization have been identified as part of SDS mitigation. Colorado Springs also has asked for $10 million to expand its nonpotable water system in the northern part of the city, increasing the reuse of water. Finally, Colorado Springs has asked the federal government for $600,000 for a low-impact development project that would show how designing subdivisions and lots could reduce runoff…
The Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District is requesting $1 million toward its $330 million Arkansas Valley Conduit, said Executive Director Jim Broderick. The money would go toward investigating the alignment and rights of way needed for the project, which would provide drinking water from Pueblo Dam for 42 communities between Pueblo and Lamar. It would also free up some funds from an existing federal grant to be used for other purposes, Broderick said. The conduit is included in public lands bill that was to be considered this week, but was pushed back as Congress focused on the stimulus package.
The Wiggins Town Council is going the populist route and letting voters decide the towns strategy for a sustainable water supply. Here’s a report from Dan Barker writing for the Fort Morgan Times. From the article:
Mayor Mike Bates said he met with Fort Morgan city officials Monday to clear up what the city is willing to offer in terms of cost to buy water. The Fort Morgan City Council seems to be behind the latest offer. However, the Wiggins council seems to be “spinning its wheels,” so it would be better to have an election to let Wiggins voters decide between three different options, Bates said.