Max Schmidt — ‘Two things are for sure with water: gravity and greed’

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From the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Le Roy Standish):

The 15 acres at 2962 A 1/2 Road cost $1.25 million, according to a news release from the district. When the reservoir is built, it will serve the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District. The new reservoir and other Orchard Mesa Irrigation District improvements will reduce the amount of water needed to operate the system, according to the release. “The saved water could be used in late summer to improve endangered fish habitat … and to help Western Colorado irrigators in dry years,” according to the release. The reservoir should help preserve Colorado River water levels through a 15-mile stretch of the river during dry parts of the year. The 15-mile stretch is between the point where Orchard Mesa Irrigation takes its water to where the Gunnison River flows into the Colorado. When water demand is high, water levels for fish can become critical in this stretch…

The reservoir, which [Brent Uilenberg, technical service division manager for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation] calls “more of a pond,” will hold 100 acre-feet of water…

The cost of construction is $15.25 million, Uilenberg said. The price tag includes pumping plants, pipelines, an automation system and placing structures in the canals…

Max Schmidt, manager of the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District, said the project will help maintain river flows on the Western Slope even as a thirsty Front Range pulls thousands of acre-feet of water each year up and over the Continental Divide. “We are right in the middle of a great rubber band. Denver pulls one way, California pulls the other, and this is one of the very few chances to put more water into the 15-mile reach,” Schmidt said. “Two things are for sure with water: gravity and greed.”

More Gunnison Basin coverage here.

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