Southern Delivery System: Fremont county alternative on life support

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Despite the recent approvals by Pueblo County and the Colorado Springs city council there is still a faint possibility that Colorado Springs Utilities’ proposed Southern Delivery System will run through Fremont County instead. Here’s a report from Debbie Bell writing for the Cañon City Daily Record. From the article:

“This is the goal that we laid out for the project — giving our community multiple options — our preferred option and an alternate plan in Fremont County,” John Fredell, SDS project manager, said Wednesday. “Now, we have permits for both.” Pueblo approved and signed the permit for Colorado Springs Utilities to build the $1.1 billion water pipeline from the Pueblo Dam north. If the project came to Fremont County, water would be drawn from the Arkansas River at Colo. 115 and approximately follow the highway’s contours north.

Fredell said CSU and its partners, Security and Fountain, will define the project delivery plan. “This involves a thorough business analysis that examines supply and demand, value engineering, project cost, financing options and timing of construction,” Fredell said. “Once this plan is updated, we will present a recommendation to our utilities board later this summer.”[…]

“Regardless of which alternative we construct, we will follow through on our commitments to Fremont County,” Fredell said. “We are continuing collaborative conversations with Penrose and Beaver Park Water Districts, as well as the City of Florence.”[…]

Once the final decision is made by the Colorado Springs City Council, CSU hopes to break ground by late summer or early fall.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Governor Ritter signs H.B. 09-1233 (Recognize Acequias)

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From the Valley Courier:

House Bill 1233 promotes and encourages the continued operation of acequias, or historic community ditches such as those located in Vigil’s home county of Costilla County. The bill also promotes the viability of the historic communities that depend on this system as a means of irrigation and cultural preservation in southern Colorado. Democratic State Senator Gail Schwartz, who also represents the San Luis Valley as part of her senate district, was the Senate sponsor.

The acequia bill was a significant victory for freshman legislator Vigil who introduced the bill in the House of Representatives. It was personally significant for the representative because his great grandparents were the first water rights owners in Colorado. “The passage of this bill has been long overdue. It is important that we recognize all of Colorado’s diversity,” Vigil said. “House Bill 1233 attempts to tell a story of the culture and history of some of Colorado’s first Hispanics to move to southern Colorado, specifically the San Luis Valley. San Luis is the oldest town in Colorado, and home of the state’s first water right and the San Luis People’s ditch. I am extremely proud and thankful to my colleagues in the House and Senate to recognize the importance of this legislation.”

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

Runoff news

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From the Aspen Times (Scott Condon):

A hydrologic outlook posted April 16 by the [National Weather Service] said spring runoff flood potential isn’t high for most of western Colorado, with a few exceptions. “The headwaters of the Roaring Fork River have received up to 125 percent of normal snow water equivalent, and while flooding is not likely in Glenwood Springs, upstream locations along the Roaring Fork River need to be monitored,” the bulletin said…

The Fryingpan River is flowing at about 153 cubic feet per second. The Roaring Fork River at Emma was flowing at 560 cfs Thursday afternoon. The mean level for that date over the past 11 years was 452 cfs. Lawrence said the river typically peaks between June 3 and 18. Last year’s peak at Glenwood Springs was 7,070 on June 20.