Southern Delivery System: Pueblo West’s share of the Pueblo Arkansas River flow program 20 to 30 acre feet annually, at first

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Here’s a look at what Pueblo County Commissioner Jeff Chostner has to say about Pueblo West’s participation in the Pueblo Arkansas River flow program as a condition attached to the 1041 permit for Colorado Springs Utilities’ proposed Southern Delivery System, from James Amos writing for The Pueblo West View. From the article:

Pueblo West didn’t complain until March, Chostner said, which was years into the negotiations and debate about the pipeline. Saying that Colorado Springs had originally wanted to reroute almost all the water in the river through the pipeline, Chostner said Colorado Springs agreed to the flow program to preserve some of the river as it flows through Pueblo. Pueblo West can’t think that a dry riverbed between Lake Pueblo and the confluence with Fountain Creek can be acceptable to anyone, he said. Even Pueblo West residents use the river and trail beside it for recreation. Pueblo built a kayak park in the river near Downtown, but Chostner said the recreation flows are about more than just kayaking.

The commissioner, one of three who represent Pueblo County, said Pueblo West wouldn’t have to give up much water, about 20 to 30 acre feet annually. The district has about 8,500 shares of water that translates into 8,500 acre feet of water in good years. In dry years, the yield could be about 4,500 acre feet of water – about what Pueblo West citizens use now on a yearly basis.

Chostner wasn’t speaking to any representatives from Pueblo West however, according to Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain.

Other SDS partners, Fountain and Security, voiced support at the meeting [for the Pueblo Arkansas River flow program], but no one from Pueblo West showed up.

The Colorado Springs City Council drove a stake through the hear of the Fremont County route for SDS earlier this week when they approved the Pueblo County route. Here’s a report from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain:

The route decision takes a Fremont County option out of the picture, at least for now, and the cost reflects updated engineering cost estimates. The timing of the project was delayed because Colorado Springs now thinks it won’t need the project until 2017. It also allows water rates to increase more gradually. Most council members spoke of the decision in historic terms, comparing it to the Homestake Project of the 1950s and ’60s, agreeing with staff that it would be difficult if not impossible to gain the approval of state, federal and local agencies again if it’s not built now. Councilman Jerry Heimlicher called it a “tombstone vote,” meaning he would want it recorded on his tombstone when he dies. He vigorously defended the increase in water rates, saying they would go up even more without SDS.

Vice Mayor Larry Small touted the benefits to Fountain Creek Colorado Springs will pay for as mitigation to Pueblo County.

The council also heard about adding potential partners in El Paso County to the list of partners in SDS, according to Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Vice Mayor Larry Small and Councilman Darryl Glenn also suggested the pipeline could be built sooner and paid for more easily by letting others into the project.

Councilman Tom Gallagher, the lone vote against SDS, spoke against the idea of enlarging the pool of users on the pipeline, saying council’s first obligation is to supply water to its own service area.

“They’re asking us to support their growth,” Gallagher said. “Do we have the supply to support their growth? If we’re not using the proper supply to make our decisions, we are risking our ability to serve our ratepayers.”

More Coyote Gulch Southern Delivery System coverage here and here.

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