Million Pipeline Project: Conflicting views for reservoir at Upper Williams Creek site near Colorado Springs

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Here’s an interesting turn of events. Aaron Million and his partners have been looking at siting a terminal reservoir at the same location as Colorado Springs Utilities’ proposed Upper William Creek site, according to a report from Chris Woodka writing for the Pueblo Chieftain. Dueling projects? From the article:

“I was amazed when I found out,” Million said. “We have been focusing on our own project for so long. I didn’t realize it was part of theirs. They’re kind of crowding me in the cattle pen. “Colorado Springs doesn’t own the property for the proposed reservoir. Rancher Bob Norris, an old family friend of Million’s owns the site. Million said he targeted the site for his own project while helping Norris’ son, Steve, run cattle on the property last fall.

Late last year, Colorado Springs chose the Upper Williams Creek site as its terminal storage, rather than the Jimmy Camp Creek further north. Many of the comments in the draft environmental impact statement being prepared by the Bureau of Reclamation protested the Jimmy Camp Creek site. The Upper Williams Creek previously appeared in one alternative, but it was the site of choice in the final EIS. Another 185,000 acre-foot Cactus Hill Reservoir is planned northeast of Fort Collins. Meetings have been planned in areas that could be affected by the project. A meeting in Pueblo has been set for 6:30 to 9 p.m. April 22 at Risley Middle School, 625 N. Monument. Other meetings are: April 14, Green River, Wyo.; April 15, Vernal, Utah; April 16, Laramie, Wyo.; April 20, Fort Collins; April 21, Denver. For locations, visit the Web site…

Million also is pursuing a Bureau of Reclamation contract and Colorado water right to put water in the pipeline. “Specifically, the project is being designed to meet environmental and agricultural needs as well as municipal needs,” Million said. “We would allow some of the water to be used at prices that are reasonable to agriculture.” The project would bring water to the Front Range without the less-desirable alternatives of building a new transmountain project or drying up farms in both the South Platte and Arkansas basins, Million said. “Frankly, we have offered the state of Colorado a significant bank of water for the environment,” Million said. “It is important for me to give benefits to the environment.”

Using the drop in elevation from the Palmer Divide to the proposed T-Cross Reservoir also has the potential to develop 330 megawatts of hydroelectric power, Million said. “This could be combined with wind power to make 100 percent renewable energy,” Million said. While the Corps is the lead agency in the project, it would also need permits from other federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and Forest Service. The EIS is being developed by AECOM, a global engineering firm.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here, here, here and here.

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