From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
“We’re talking to a number of potential sellers in the Rocky Ford High Line and Holbrook systems,” said Jessie Shaffer, manager of the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District. On Dec. 30, the district filed in Division 2 Water Court for an exchange decree to use water from the Lower Arkansas Valley to supplement its inventory now fed by wells. “We thought it was prudent to file this year. It’s just the first step in a long round to go,” Shaffer said.
The filing surprised backers of the Arkansas Valley Super Ditch, which has reached agreement with Woodmoor and other El Paso County water users to supply water through a long-term lease. “I thought we were looking at doing everything with regional cooperation,” said Jay Winner, general manager of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District, which formed Super Ditch in 2008.
The Woodmoor district is looking for its own sources of water, but would consider buying water through a lease like Super Ditch, Shaffer said. “We want to buy water rights, but we’re not opposed to leasing,” he said. The Woodmoor district formed in 1964 and serves about 8,400 people north of Colorado Springs near the Douglas County line The district will be looking for reliable sources of water at an affordable rate it can solely control, according to its Web site. Woodmoor now gets nearly all of its water through 14 wells in the Denver Basin aquifers. It also has surface water rights in the Lake Woodmoor area, used for irrigation or replacement. It has worked with other El Paso water users through the Pikes Peak and El Paso County water authorities. Last year, the district approved a long-term plan that includes using water from the Lower Arkansas Valley to supplement the Denver Basin wells with renewable sources…
In its court filing, Woodmoor identifies water rights on the Holbrook, High Line, Excelsior and other unnamed ditches as potential sources for the exchange. The district does not, however, seek to change or claim any of the water rights at this time…
The district also lists reservoirs on the Holbrook and High Line canals and reservoirs that have not been built on the Excelsior Ditch as potential exchange points. There are also a series of reservoirs along Fountain Creek, some of which have not been built, listed in the court case.
More Arkansas River Basin coverage here.