Northern Integrated Supply Project and Windy Gap Firming Project update

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From the Loveland Reporter Herald:

McInnis, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, sent a letter Friday in support of the project to the Larimer and Weld county commissioners and to the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District…

Last week, more than 200 people attended a rally in support of the project on a Weld County farm. They said the project would relieve pressure on farmers to sell their water, thereby preserving farmland. McInnis agrees, according to his letter, which says the reservoir project would prevent a “buy and dry” atmosphere that could turn Northern Colorado into a dust bowl.

Meanwhile, here’s an update on the proposed Glade and Chimney Hollow reservoirs from Shari Phiel writing for the Berthoud Recorder. From the article:

Despite the economic downturn, Colorado — and especially the Front Range — will continue to grow, creating greater and greater demand for water. But, of course, there is only so much water available through the C-BT. In response to this demand, the [Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District] has proposed two separate reservoir projects. One being the Windy Gap Firming Project which would create Chimney Hollow Reservoir and the other is the Northern Integrated Supply Project which would create Glade Reservoir through the construction of dams in both valleys.

Jeff Drager, project manager for the proposed Chimney Hollow Reservoir, says the project is needed to provide for more storage during wet years when Lake Granby is often full. “If the Colorado-Big Thompson is full or if the Adams tunnel is full of water … there’s no room to put Windy Gap water in and that’s turned out to be a bit of a constraint over the last 20-some years of operation.” Per the NCWCD, Chimney Hollow would only use the same Colorado River water rights granted in the 1960s and 70s, and is expected to deliver a “firm annual yield” of up to 30,000 acre feet of water by 2010 at a cost of $270 million. The dam would be constructed just west of Carter Lake.

The other, and certainly more controversial project, is the NISP project and construction of 170,000 acre-foot Glade Reservoir. The NISP project is expected to bring 40,000 acre feet of water to 15 communities “without drying up the Poudre River or our agricultural communities,” says the NCWCD. The water district also sees the project as the answer to the question of how to meet the demand for more water without drying up either the Poudre River or agricultural lands in the process. The NISP project plan includes construction of Glade Reservoir, which will require relocating nearly seven miles of U.S. Highway 287, a pumping facility, a pipeline to deliver water for exchange with two irrigation companies, and necessary improvements to an existing canal to fill the reservoir. Water woud be diverted from the Poudre River north into Glade Reservoir. Total cost for the entire NISP project is anticipated to reach $426 million.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

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