Arkansas Basin Roundtable meeting recap

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Here’s a recap of yesterday’s meeting of the Arkansas Basin Roundtable, from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

President Gary Barber wants to evaluate the potential effectiveness of plans, projects and methods considered by the roundtable so far. Projects like the Arkansas Valley Conduit, Southern Delivery System and the stalled Preferred Storage Option Plan would be rated along with smaller projects like municipal water projects in Westcliffe and Las Animas, grander plans like the Fountain Creek Vision Task Force and defensive measures like zebra mussel control. Methods such as rotational agricultural fallowing, underground water storage and voluntary flow agreements also would be evaluated without specific reference to any ongoing proposals, Barber said. He suggested looking at how viable, bearable and equitable those plans are…

Some members have either forgotten the details of some of the proposals over four years on the roundtable. Others joined after the actions were approved. Barber backed up and agreed to provide descriptions of the projects and give members more time to evaluate them.

Others wanted to add other projects to the list, including some that may not happen for years, such as Pueblo’s proposal to enlarge Clear Creek Reservoir, suggested by Alan Hamel, executive director of the Pueblo Board of Water Works. Tom Brubaker asked that agricultural dry-up, the likely outcome of no action, be added for evaluation…

Barber wants the evaluation to complete a report on the progress of the roundtable he plans to submit to the Interbasin Compact Committee later this year.

More coverage from The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Members of the Arkansas Basin Roundtable are perturbed that state agencies are not responding to requests from the Front Range to include the Gunnison River basin in its studies of future water supplies. They also have asked the state to look at the potential water that could be gained from drying up Western Slope agriculture, rather than solely looking at taking water from farms in the Arkansas and South Platte basins…

[Jeris] Danielson said he was frustrated that the roundtables, which were formed in 2005 to develop ways to look at corroboration in water projects between basins, have been slow to get to that point. He also said the IBCC is weighted toward Western Slope interests. Danielson brought up the issue at the July meeting in Crested Butte and received immediate rebuke from several Western Slope members of the IBCC. At its meeting last month, the IBCC declined to discuss a July 13 letter from Arkansas Basin Roundtable President Gary Barber – approved by the Arkansas roundtable in June – that asked for a study of Gunnison River basin exports and consideration of Western Slope dry-up. “The letter was suppressed at the state level,” said Wayne Vanderschuere, a Colorado Springs Utilities executive who was appointed to the board by former Gov. Bill Owens…

The Colorado Water Conservation Board already is looking at other proposals to bring water from the Western Slope to the Front Range, including proposals from the Yampa River, Colorado River return and Flaming Gorge reservoir in Wyoming that would bring water from further reaches than the Gunnison concept. Despite four years of IBCC meetings, any of the concepts would likely face a heated political battle. “They’re still saying ‘not one drop,’” said Reed Dils, who represents the Arkansas basin on the CWCB. “I still see a strong split between the East and West Slope.”

More IBCC and roundtable coverage here and here.

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