Lower Ark board meeting

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Here’s a recap of this week’s meeting of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District, from Lola Shrimplin writing for the La Junta Tribune-Democrat. From the article:

A lawsuit against the bureau of reclamation by the board was discussed.
The Pueblo Chieftain had proposed pairing with the board and splitting the costs, but the board decided the proposal, while appreciated, wasn’t feasible. “Unless we’re in absolute lockstep with the Chieftain, it’s a bad idea,” Chairman Pete Moore said. The possibility of a conflict was discussed, and Attorney Peter Nichols was asked if the idea proposed by the Chieftain was a good one…

Update: The lawsuit mentioned in the article is probably the one brought by Arkansas Native, LLC against Reclamation. Chieftain owner Bob Rawlings is one of the principles in Arkansas Native.

The District is purchasing the Larkspur Ditch, Winner informed the board.
The purchase will begin this year, with half being purchased this year, and half in 2010.
A letter has been sent to shareholders discussing the purchase, with the District wishing to purchase at least two thirds majority in the ditch…

An attendee of the meeting from the State of Kansas drew attention from the audience and the board. Kevin Salter, with the State of Kansas, was in attendance and Don McBee, Fort Lyon farmer, gave an update on consumptive use rules. Eight ponds have been studied, McBee said. Dale Mauch, Fort Lyon farmer, suggested flow meters for ponds, stating that flow meters were already on the pivot irrigation systems. If flow meters were to be put on ponds, the loss could be measured, he said, showing that the farmers weren’t using more water than they were permitted. “Maybe we jumped the gun,” he said. Winner told Mauch to look to his left, where Salter was sitting, then told Mauch that Salter was from Kansas. “You’re from Kansas?” Mauch said, then started laughing and reached out to shake Salter’s hand.

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More coverage from Chris Woodka writing for the Pueblo Chieftain:

The Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District wants to buy most or all of the Larkspur Ditch from the Catlin Canal Co. The board voted Wednesday to make $500,000 available this year for purchases of shares in the ditch and plans on allocating another $500,000 next year to complete the purchase. The vote was 4-0, with directors Melissa Esquibel, Pete Moore, Anthony Nunez and Lynden Gill voting in favor. Director Wayne Whittaker, secretary of the Catlin Canal, did not vote. Directors Leroy Mauch and John Singletary were absent. The Lower Ark board sent a letter to Catlin shareholders in December to determine if there was widespread interest in selling shares in the ditch for about $70 per share. Payments must go to shareholders, since the Larkspur is held as a mutual ditch company…

The ditch diverted an average of 160 acre-feet of water from the Gunnison River basin to the Arkansas River basin from 1980-2007. Catlin purchased the ditch in 1943 for $12,500 as part of a package deal for shares in the Mount Pisgah Reservoir in Teller County, according to a written history by the late Frank Milenski. The Lower Ark signed an agreement with Catlin in 2004 to lease the water from the ditch for $5,000 per year for 10 years, with an option to buy. The Lower Ark has made improvements on the ditch, and uses the water to provide leases for users in the Arkansas Valley. The board’s goal is to obtain at least half of the shares of the ditch, and about 70 percent of shareholders indicated a willingness to sell, Whittaker said.

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