Custer County: Fountain updates residents on plans for H2O ranch purchase

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From the Wet Mountain Tribune (Nora Drenner):

The City of Fountain purchased the 480-acre ranch for $3.5 million in partnership with the city of Widefield in March 2008 to acquire some 700-acre-feet of water. The ranch is located about two-and one-half miles west of Westcliffe on Kettle Lane. The purpose of the meeting, said Fountain and Widefield officials, was to let locals know what the future plans are for the water. “We are taking a forthright approach with no secrets,” said City of Fountain Utilities Director Larry Patterson. “We want to communicate with everyone and hear what they have to say.”[…]

Patterson also said the H2O ranch case has been filed in state water court, and he expects the case to take up to four years for completion. As part of the process for water court, said Patterson, the two entities are providing an engineering review and opinion regarding the water rights on the H2O ranch. Also in the works, said Patterson, are individual meetings with neighboring property owners. “We do not want to harm our neighbors’ ability to receive their water,” said Patterson…

“Our number one consideration at this time,” said Paterson, “is to lease the land with part of the water.” The amount of water which would be leased with the land, said Patterson, will depend upon the final water decree. Patterson also said, “We are not in the development business,” adding that the land will probably be sold sometime in the future. Other considerations, said Patterson, are placing a part of the ranch in a conservation easement, and working with the Upper Arkansas Water Conservation District to exchange the water.

More Custer County coverage here.

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