Upper Yampa River Water Conservancy District keeping an eye on Shell’s application

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The Upper Yampa River Water Conservancy District filed a statement in opposition to Shell’s water court application for a diversion on the Yampa River, according to a report from Melinda Dudley writing for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. From the article:

The Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District filed a statement of opposition on Friday to Shell Frontier Oil and Gas’ Dec. 30 request for substantial water rights on the Yampa River. “We’re in it to look after the constituency and our district,” Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District General Manager Kevin McBride said. “It doesn’t do the Upper Yampa any good to be taking water out.” The water district is joined in its opposition by the South Routt towns of Oak Creek and Yampa. Although upstream of Shell’s proposed diversion in Moffat County, town officials worry that the company’s request could affect future water rights and development across Northwest Colorado.

The term “opposition” can be a bit misleading, McBride said. “Filing an opposition could mean anything from an entity having a real opposition to simply wanting to be notified of the proceedings,” McBride said. “If you want to be notified of the proceedings, you have to oppose.” Town officials in Yampa and Oak Creek, both of which piggybacked on the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District’s opposition, have made it clear that their opposition is more than just a way to stay informed…

Shell’s filing would allocate the Yampa River “basically to 100 percent,” affecting future water rights, Oak Creek Trustee Josh Voorhis said Thursday, when the Oak Creek Town Board agreed to join the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District’s pending opposition. The deadline for oppositions on the matter is today…

[Shell’s proposed reservoir] would be built off the main stem of the Yampa in the Cedar Springs Draw in Moffat County. The proposed reservoir’s potential 45,000 acre-foot size compares to the 33,275 acre-feet in Stagecoach Reservoir and 25,450 acre-feet in the newly expanded Elkhead Reservoir between Hayden and Craig.

Meanwhile the Moffat County Commission approved participation in a groundwater study proposed by the Colorado Water Conservation Board, according to a report from the Craig Daily Press. From the article:

[Moffat County Commission]: Approved, 3-0, signing a grant contract with the Colorado Water Conservation Board to hire Colorado Geological Survey to investigate local groundwater and aquifer conditions before widespread coal-bed methane development occurs locally.

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