Custer County augmentation plan update

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Here’s an update on Custer County’s augmentation plan through the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District, from Nora Drenner writing for the Wet Mountain Tribune. From the article:

A public hearing regarding the matter took place on Wednesday, June 17 in the county courthouse. Some 40 interested persons showed up to voice their opinions on the matter. The hearing began with an opening statement by UAWCD manager Terry Scanga. That statement illustrated the benefits of bringing a blanket water augmentation plan to the county. Scanga said the sources of augmentation water would not result in the dry-up of agricultural land in Custer County. Instead, said Scanga, the UAWCD would use water from its existing water rights to meet Custer County’s needs. Scanga further noted a blanket augmentation plan would allow the UAWCD to augment those wells that are currently out of compliance and as such are in need of water…

The UAWCD is proposing using the Texas Creek and Grape Creek water drainages to bring the water augmentation plan to the county. Also in the works is the building of reservoirs along Texas Creek and Grape Creek, however, sites or a time frame has not been established.

In his statement, Scanga also said that the local Concerned Citizens for Custer County organization C-4 has made inaccurate representations about the advantages of postponing the filing of the augmentation plan until after July 1 when new regulations go into effect. According to C-4, said Scanga, “The new rules will change the disclosure obligations of an applicant in respect to the proposed augmentation plan.” Scanga continued, “The new rules are no more stringent in requiring the applicant to demonstrate in water court that no injury will occur to other water right owners. It is odd that this citizen’s group has shown little concern about the protection of senior water right owners, which is the whole purpose of augmentation.” Instead, said Scanga, “The new rules increase the burden on water resource engineers, and therefore the cost of such engineers to all parties.” Scanga further said, “The new rules would likely decrease the efficiency of the process because the first cases subject to the new rules would likely experience delays and increased costs.”[…]

In the end, the commissioners asked the UAWCD to delay filing the water augmentation plan in water court to they could have time to review it. Scanga indicated the plan would be submitted by June 30.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

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