Here’s a look at the pre-1922 water bank proposed by the Southwestern Colorado Water Conservancy District and the Colorado River District, from Dale Rodebaugh writing for The Durango Herald. From the article:
A call on the river – as it’s known – has never occurred. But board members of the Southwestern Water Conservation District and the Colorado River Water Association are interested enough in the consequences that they took up the matter last week at a meeting in Durango. A presentation by Tom Iseman of The Nature Conservancy, who spent six months researching issues, served mainly as a primer for future debate. The two water groups, which together represent all counties on the Western Slope, commissioned the study.
On the Western Slope, agricultural interests whose claims predate 1922 hold the rights to about 1 million acre-feet. An acre-foot of water covers a football field to the depth of 1 foot. But under what Iseman calls a water bank, early right-holders on the Western Slope would be compensated financially for putting their allotment temporarily at the disposal of junior users, who could lose their total allotments if there were a call by downstream consumers. Senior right-holders would receive further compensation if their water was actually used. Junior right-holders could use loaned water only in the case of an actual or imminent downstream call and then only for critical purposes.
State agencies – the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Division of Water Resources – have been briefed on issues Western Slope water suppliers are discussing, Whitehead said. Also, the boards have presented their plan to most water districts on the Front Range.