Rico: Dolores Water Conservancy District approves alluvial well for supplemental supply

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From the Cortez Journal (Kimberly Benedict):

Rico proposed using alluvial wells north of town, which pump water from shallow aquifers, to supplement their current water supply. “We’ve been working on this for a couple of years now,” said Mike England, Rico town manager. “We struggle with the Silver Creek supply, especially after it rains.” “Rico’s primary point of water supply on Silver Creek faces turbidity and other issues,” said Mike Preston, DWCD manager. “They would like to drill a well up above Rico and be able to run the water down into town.”

England stressed Rico has tried to address their water concerns without new sources, but the 300 lots currently using water have put a strain on the town’s resources. “We have promoted the conservation of water,” England said. “We have raised prices for residential and commercial properties. We are near capacity and need to try to develop other water sources. This request is not for future development, just historic use.”[…]

The Colorado Water Conservation Board allows the Dolores Water Conservancy a 1 per cent, or 0.20 cubic feet per second, de minimis allowance of water usage in the instream flow segment between Rico and the confluence with Fill Gulch. De minimis allowance is the maximum amount of water usage allowed without substantial impact to instream flow. The proposed Rico project would require an allocation of 0.178 cfs. “What they are proposing is taking up a substantial part of the de minimis ,” Preston said.

Curtis walked the board through the existing water use on the section of river in question, noting there are 25 existing parcels, including reserved water usage rights for the Sundial development, that have prior claim. Ultimately, Curtis did not see a problem with the Rico request. “The way consumptive use is, we should be able to handle 300 residences,” he said. “Our conclusion was this isn’t a big use on the district and we don’t see a big impact.” The board’s approval of the request was subject to CWCB agreement that only 0.022 cfs be counted against the de minimis allowance downstream of Fill Gulch.

More Dolores River watershed coverage here and here.

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