Arkansas Valley Conduit: Valley officials psyched that Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar is talking water issues

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“This is a big deal. Very rarely have we seen a Secretary of Interior walk into a community to talk about water issues,” Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District Executive Director Jim Broderick said Thursday…

The Southeastern district is the primary sponsor of the conduit, which would deliver water from Pueblo Dam to 42 communities as far east as Lamar and Eads. “When I visited Bureau of Reclamation officials in Washington, there were a lot of encouraging words on the conduit,” Broderick said. “I think they’re starting to get an indication this is a highly visible project.” Under legislation passed earlier this year, the conduit will receive funding, which the district has sought since 2003. Part of the reason the bill passed this year is a concept first suggested by Broderick to use excess-capacity revenues to pay off unfunded parts of the Fry-Ark Project, including the conduit. The House approved funding of $5 million for next year, at the request of Reps. Salazar and Betsy Markey, D-Colo., but the appropriation still must survive a conference committee. The Senate made no recommendation for funding…

Broderick also is encouraged because Jennifer Gimbel, executive director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, last week at Colorado Water Congress confirmed the state’s loan for the conduit is still active. The loan was among items potentially on the chopping block to balance the state budget…

The Southeastern board approved $300,000 in contracts Thursday under an Environmental Protection Agency grant to begin work on environmental, engineering and mapping tasks associated with the conduit. The contracts are the first steps toward building the conduit. In a related move, the board agreed to work with Colorado Springs in exploring ways to use a proposed North Outlet Works at Pueblo Dam to provide system redundancy for the South Outlet Works, the conduit’s connection to water in Lake Pueblo.

More Arkansas Valley Conduit coverage here and here.

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