Flaming Gorge pipeline: Users are lining up if project gets built

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“I have letters from municipalities, special districts and agricultural districts in Wyoming and Colorado,” Million said. “We’re close to full subscription.” Million said some discussions are continuing, but he will make the list of potential end users for his project available next week and meet a Jan. 20 deadline imposed on an environmental evaluation by the Army Corps of Engineers. Letters of interest, not formal contracts, will be submitted to the Corps, Million said. Million’s plan calls for bringing 225,000 acre-feet of water to Colorado and 25,000 acre-feet to Wyoming in a 6- to 10-foot-diameter pipeline. It has met local opposition in the Green River, Wyo., area near Flaming Gorge and from some Colorado environmental groups.

“I don’t think they understand the impact,” Million said. “At the end of the day, this is an environmental project. What we’ve been told by the people who manage the asset (Bureau of Reclamation) is that there is enough water to meet the Green River’s environmental issues.” He said water from Flaming Gorge would address other environmental issues in Colorado, on both sides of the Continental Divide. For instance, Western Slope interests could use the pipeline to deliver water to Denver, reducing the need for diversions from Dillon Reservoir, Million said. Water from the pipeline could also reduce the need for cities to buy and dry more farmland, he added. “There are huge opportunities to help meet deficits,” Million said. “If you can assist, why not do it.”

The El Paso County Water Authority suggested Million look at using a proposed underground storage basin in the Upper Black Squirrel designated groundwater basin for terminal storage, and wants a Flaming Gorge task force to discuss how the pipeline would fit into area water plans. “None of the providers was willing to solely commit to the Flaming Gorge project,” explained Gary Barber, manager of the authority. In a letter to Million, El Paso Water Authority President Kip Peterson, who is manager of the Cherokee Water District, said additional time is needed to consider public interest in Million’s proposal…

A task force effort as proposed by El Paso County users could unnecessarily delay the project, although he is still interested in bringing the water into the Arkansas Valley, Million said. “I’m continuing to negotiate individually and collectively with El Paso County,” Million said.

More Flaming Gorge pipeline coverage here and here.

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