From email from Reclamation:
The Bureau of Reclamation has released the Record of Decision on the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Southern Delivery System. The SDS is a non-federal water delivery pipeline that would run from Pueblo Reservoir to Colorado Springs, Colo. It will connect to Pueblo Dam and require water contracts between Colorado Springs Utilities and the Bureau of Reclamation.
Michael Ryan, Regional Director for Reclamation’s Great Plains Region, signed the Record of Decision later Friday afternoon.
“We have completed the environmental compliance and have provided the public with a detailed report on the impacts of the Southern Delivery System,” said Ryan. “It is a positive step forward in providing a clean and efficient water supply for many Colorado communities, while also ensuring we remain diligent stewards of our natural resources.”
Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera also gave his thoughts on Reclamation’s review of the project, saying, “This is a critical milestone toward making the Southern Delivery System and the water it will provide for our future a reality. Reclamation’s review of SDS was lengthy, thorough and complete and we ended up with a better project as a result.”
Reclamation prepared its Environmental Impact Statement in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. The Final EIS was released last month and is available at http://www.sdseis.com. The signing of the ROD concludes the NEPA process.
For more information on the Record of Decision for the Southern Delivery System EIS, please visit the http://www.sdseis.com website. To obtain a hard copy of the ROD, please contact Kara Lamb at (970) 962-4326.
Update: More coverage from the Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
The decision follows last year’s environmental impact statement and clears the way for Colorado Springs and its SDS partners to choose a route and begin contract negotiations with Reclamation. Colorado Springs and its SDS partners would seek long-term contracts with Reclamation for storage, exchange and conveyance at Lake Pueblo…
Colorado Springs is allowed to exchange water — store it out of priority in Lake Pueblo — against return flows down Fountain Creek. Pueblo West can exchange storage against return flows down Wild Horse Dry Creek. Pueblo County conditions include Pueblo West participation in a flow protection program for the Arkansas River through Pueblo, which Pueblo West officials protested last week. With some modifications in wording, Colorado Springs, Security and Fountain found the Pueblo County conditions legally acceptable. Major technical objections to the project were removed last week, when the Pueblo Board of Water Works approved agreements that provided for a pool of water to augment low flows and how outlets at Pueblo Dam would be shared. Permits must be obtained from the Colorado Department of Wildlife and the Army Corps of Engineers for the SDS project to commence.