Flaming Gorge pipeline: Pueblo scoping session

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Here’s a recap of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ scoping session for the Regional Watershed Supply Project held on Wednesday night in Pueblo, from Chris Woodka writing for the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

About 30 people attended. What makes the project different is that no specific end users, other than Lake Hattie Reservoir in southern Wyoming, have been identified. There were questions raised at a Denver meeting earlier in the week about whether the project satisfied Colorado water law that prohibits speculative ventures. Brand explained that the Corps expects the project to change over the next five years while it is being evaluated and that end users would have to surface before it could be permitted.

Concerns expressed Wednesday focused on how water from the project would reach the Arkansas River, what the water quality impacts would be, how it could affect Fountain Creek and how the project would fit in with the Southern Delivery System and Colorado Springs water supply. “Personally, I’m concerned about the dry-up of agriculture in our state and the environmental impacts of more diversions from areas like Grand County,” Million told the group in explaining why he wants to develop the project. “This project will bring in a fresh, reliable supply of good water and alleviate the pressure on the high mountain range watersheds.”[…]

Some questioned whether agriculture could afford the water, but Million said he intends to price water at market value for both municipal and agricultural use, while providing some for environmental purposes as well…

Water would be stored in Lake Hattie, 69,000 acre-feet; a new reservoir northeast of Fort Collins, called Cactus Hill Reservoir, 185,000 acre-feet; and a new reservoir on Upper Williams Creek, 25,000 acre-feet. The Upper Williams Creek site is the same one chosen for terminal storage in the Southern Delivery System, a pipeline proposed by Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs Utilities staffer Keith Riley attended Wednesday’s meeting and spoke briefly with Million about the possibility of enlarging the size of the Upper Williams Creek reservoir to accommodate both projects. No decisions were made, however. The Corps must also approve Colorado Springs’ reservoir site. The site is on property now owned by Bob Norris.

Another storage possibility was suggested by Gary Barber, of the El Paso County Water Authority and Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority. He suggested groundwater recharge reservoirs in designated groundwater basins like Upper Black Squirrel Creek. There are several others located in the South Platte River basin. The state is studying how they could be used to store water. The underground storage opportunities all lie fairly close to the pipeline’s proposed route and could even be used to bank water for Wyoming until it’s needed in that state, Barber said.

Meanwhile, the Uinta County (Wyoming) commissioners are considering opposition to the Regional Watershed Supply Project, according to a report from the Uinta County Herald. From the article:

“Ecologically this is going to affect us a lot,” [chairman Mick Powers] said. Powers said he attended a meeting at Green River High School on April 14 where officials outlined a plan to pipe water from Flaming Gorge and Green River for use in Colorado, more than 500 miles away. “This will have a huge impact. There is nothing to gain for anyone in this part of the country. It’s bad for all of us,” Powers added…

Powers said Tuesday that he believes the county needs to go on record and oppose the pipeline as strongly as possible.
He said he would draft a letter for the other commissioners to approve to be sent to the Corp of Engineers.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

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