Interbasin Compact Committee meeting recap

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Here’s a recap of Monday’s IBCC meeting in Steamboat, from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

By rolling out a new process to evaluate future water strategies this week, [DNR Director Harris] Sherman helped smooth some rough waters that were roiling among the nine basin roundtables amid growing impatience on the part of the Front Range and reluctance to move by Western Slope interests. The new plan would employ a portfolio of strategies to meet needs and minimize the dry-up of agricultural land. Most who attended Monday’s IBCC meeting agreed it was the most productive meeting to date. While little was decided, the new process opened the door for discussions about how to rate various mixes of identified projects, new projects, conservation and agriculture dry-up.

The plan follows months of concerns by roundtables that led to a flurry of resolutions from the Arkansas, South Platte and Metro roundtables to open up all West Slope options – including the Gunnison River basin and potential dry-up of Western Colorado agriculture. In response, the Yampa-White roundtable asked the IBCC to put on the brakes until state studies of water availability in the Colorado River basin were complete. All of the resolutions were put on hold after Sherman pointed out the IBCC has no real authority other than to make recommendations to other state agencies. Still, he asked the roundtables to explain their positions…

John McClow, a member of the Colorado Water Conservation Board from the Gunnison basin, said there are still concerns about drying up Western Slope agriculture to feed Front Range growth, but said there is no reason not to study ideas such as the Blue Mesa pumpback plan. “If anything about supply is studied, however, we need to understand demand as well,” McClow said…

Jeff Devere, who represents the Yampa-White Roundtable on the IBCC, said the basin “feels like it has a bull’s-eye on it” with the potential of Shell Oil development, the Yampa pumpback plan and Aaron Million’s Flaming Gorge proposal that would claim Green River water. “I think the concern of the Yampa-White was that the process was getting ahead of itself,” Devere said.

More IBCC coverage here and here.

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