Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District: Regional water pool should be online next season

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From The Greeley Tribune (Bill Jackson):

Municipal and industrial water users may have another source of water next year when a regional water pool program proposed by the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District comes online. Brad Wind, deputy manager of the operations division for Northern, said the regional pool was first approved by the district’s board of directors in 2003, but this year has been the first year when sufficient carryover water will be available to offer the pool in 2010. The main reason the carry over is available is because of an abnormally wet spring and summer. For example, Greeley has received 18.5 inches of precipitation this year at the University of Northern Colorado, which is more than 5 inches more than the long-term average. In some areas of Northern’s boundaries, that has been doubled or even tripled in some cases. Wind, speaking at Northern’s recent annual fall water users meeting in Loveland, said the pool will be implemented in years when the district has at least 200,000 acre-feet of water in reserve. The pool will be limited to a maximum of 62,000 acre-feet each year. For 2010, it is expected there will be 37,000 acre-feet available, he said. An acre-foot is enough water to supply two families with a year’s supply of water. That water will be made available on a competitive lease basis and will be open to any qualified water user within Northern’s eight-county district…

Wind said ownership of Colorado-Big Thompson water has changed through the years. The largest transmountain water diversion in the state was built between 1938 and 1957. Originally, it was intended to provide a supplemental supply of irrigation water to farmers in northern Colorado by bringing water over the Continental Divide from the Colorado River, but now it provides supplemental water to 30 cities and towns as well. Currently, about 65 percent of the units of C-BT are owned by municipal and industrial users. “As time goes on, the water portfolios of municipalities is more robust,” Wind said, noting the demand for that water for municipalities is spread out over a longer time than that still used for irrigation of farmland. So the board began to think about ways to better optimize things and the regional pool became a reality. “The objective is to better optimize things between those who get the water and those who manage water,” Wind said. The result, he added, “will be more flexibility for those who use that water.”

More NCWCD coverage here.

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