Interior Secretary Salazar appoints Deanna Archuleta to work ‘full-time’ on Southern Delivery System mitigation requirements

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Here’s a recap of yesterday’s meeting on water issues in Pueblo hosted by Ken Salazar, from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Deanna Archuleta, deputy assistant secretary for water and science, will work “full-time” on the issue, Salazar said at a water issues summit in Pueblo…

Salazar called Fountain Creek a “shared resource” that is important to Colorado Springs and Pueblo, as well as the downstream farms and cities. As a U.S. senator, Salazar urged the Fountain Creek Vision Task Force to make the creek a “crown jewel” and he applauded the task force and state lawmakers for making the Fountain Creek Flood Control and Greenway District a reality. As secretary of the Interior, Salazar said he now has the authority to make sure the promises made by Colorado Springs to win approval for building the Southern Delivery System from Pueblo Dam are fulfilled. “Deanna Archuleta will help to identify the resources we need to get this done,” Salazar said. “I’m looking forward to working on this project,” Archuleta said after the meeting. “There has been exceptional collaboration and phenomenal work so far on this. It really is precedent-setting.” Salazar said Archuleta will lead a team directly inside the secretary of Interior’s office that includes Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Mike Connor…

Salazar voiced strong support for the Arkansas Valley Conduit, a $300 million project authorized by Congress this year that would build a drinking water line from Pueblo Dam to Lamar and Eads. “I am 100 percent behind getting the Arkansas Valley Conduit built,” Salazar said. “I will look at our budget to see if there is any money we can put into it. Unless we get this process moving, we are not going to get it done.”[…]

Secretary Salazar also said the “right kind of limits” on taking water from the Arkansas River basin have to be found before federal legislation is crafted to allow Aurora to use the Fry-Ark Project. “It’s not going to happen unless my big brother’s (Rep. Salazar’s) concerns can be satisfied,” he said.

Here’s a look at U.S. Representive John Salazar’s views on legislation that would allow Aurora to benefit from Fryingpan-Arkansas facilities, from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

No federal legislation to allow Aurora to use the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project will pass unless U.S. Rep. John Salazar is part of the discussion on how that legislation is drafted. The Colorado Democrat made that clear Friday in his closing remarks at a water summit he and his brother, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, hosted in Pueblo. “I’ve always been one to seek the middle ground on issues, but I’m adamant on agriculture,” Rep. Salazar said. “I want to make sure we don’t destroy one economy to make another.”[…]

In March, the Lower Ark and Aurora agreed to work for a change in federal legislation that would legitimize Aurora’s use of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project. They later obtained a stay in the Lower Ark’s lawsuit against the Bureau of Reclamation, which in 2007 issued a 40-year storage and exchange contract for excess capacity in Lake Pueblo. “We believe these issues can be solved and we’re working to solve them,” Aurora Mayor Ed Tauer said.

There was no mistaking Rep. Salazar’s parting words, however. “I don’t like to be excluded when legislation is proposed. I want to be part of that discussion,” Salazar said.

More Arkansas Basin coverage here, Arkansas Valley Conduit coverage here and here, Super Ditch coverage here and here, Fryingpan-Arkansas Project coverage here and here.

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