The city of Aurora has approved a 10 year lease with Nestlé Waters North America for the company’s Chaffee County Project, according to a report from Adam Goldstein writing for the Aurora Sentinel. From the article:
Council also lent its approval to a lease agreement with Nestle Waters North America, Inc., a pact that would see Aurora lease up to 200 acre-feet of water in the Arkansas Basin to Nestle Waters North America Inc. for $800 per acre-foot. The agreement passed by a 7-4 vote; councilmembers Renie Peterson, Bob FitzGerald, Larry Beer and Ryan Frazier voted no. Before the measure passed, Councilman Steve Hogan successfully added an amendment that would steer revenue specifically toward lessening water rates and the early redemption of bonds. “I’d like to offer an amendment that indicates that the first use of the proceeds of this agreement … must be used and analyzed for mitigation of rate increases or early bond redemption as a first purpose use.” The council approved the amendment unanimously.
The agreement would be renewed annually for a period of 10 years, and would be contingent on available supply. The water leased from Aurora would go to replace water taken from the Arkansas Valley to bottle and sell. It’s a potential deal that’s spurred outcry from residents in Chaffee County, who have raised protests about the impact of the extraction on the local supply. But Aurora Water officials said the conflict would not play into Aurora’s role in the deal. “We’re aware of the fact that you need some pubic permits and approvals from Chaffee County,” said Aurora Water Director Mark Pifher. “We weren’t trying to interject ourselves into the process.”