State crackdown on well augmentation plan is squeezing Deer Mountain Ranch homeowners

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From The Colorado Springs Gazette (R. Scott Rappold):

The developers who subdivided the ranch were required to replace every drop that would be taken out of the Oil Creek watershed by the homes in the subdivision, since downstream ranchers, farmers and others have senior water rights. The plan the developers submitted to water court in the mid-1970s said they would build a pipeline from two wells they owned to bring water into Oil Creek below the subdivision, which flows into Four Mile Creek and the Arkansas River. “The pipeline apparently never was built, but the development did proceed. So there have been wells constructed that are withdrawing water contrary to the court-approved plan, or at least not in accordance with the court-approved plan,” said Steve Witte, division engineer in Pueblo for the Colorado Division of Water Resources. When lot buyers filed for well applications with the division, its staff checked to make sure there was a water augmentation plan, but nobody confirmed the plan was being followed, which was common practice, Witte said. Said Witte, “I think the folks that reviewed the well permit applications in our Denver office accepted on faith that the court-approved plan was being adhered to. They didn’t follow up to verify.”

More groundwater coverage here.

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