How much water is there left to develop in the Gunnison Basin?

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Here’s a look at the uses for any undeveloped water on the west slope, from Will Shoemaker writing for the Gunnison Country Times. Click through and read the whole thing. Here are a few excerpts:

Blue Mesa Reservoir has long been under the eye of Front Range developers for its water, but in the last year the state has joined the chase. The Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is continuing to pursue a possible water deal with the federal Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) for about a quarter of the water in the reservoir at full capacity.”[…]

The potential contract — for 200,000 acre feet of water a year — came under the local spotlight last May, when the Gunnison County Commissioners’ became aware of the state’s interest by chance.

To date, few answers have been provided about the state’s intent with the water — which DNR leaders say has yet to be determined.

Local water managers aren’t pleased that the DNR has yet to venture to the Gunnison Valley to present its plans, hopes or intentions with the water — especially considering the concept has been presented publicly twice in the last few weeks, at the Colorado Water Congress annual convention in Denver and most recently in Grand Junction.”

Jim Pokrandt, spokesman for the Colorado River District, said the district has “serious” concerns about whether such a contract is needed. He said the district is worried about the precedent this might set for other states “going after” water from CRSPA reservoirs.

But [Alexandra Davis, assistant director with the Department of Natural Resources] says that’s already happening. “The other Upper Basin states are working hard to ensure that they develop everything that they’re entitled to,” she said, noting, for one, a pipeline planned from Lake Powell [to the St. George area], being built by the state of Utah.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here, here and here.

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