Gary Barber: ‘[SDS] infrastructure to deliver water needs to support a regional solution’

A picture named sdspreferredalternative.jpg

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“The infrastructure to deliver water needs to support a regional solution and the funding must be equitable,” Gary Barber, chairman of the roundtable, said in comments accompanying an official report to the state. “Otherwise, the Arkansas Basin may not be able to meet the gap, and the consequences will be felt beyond the borders of El Paso County.”

The largest portion of a statewide gap in future water supply is 22,600 acre-feet needed to supply communities outside Colorado Springs in El Paso County, according to the needs assessment included in the report. About 40 percent of that will be new demand, while 60 percent is loss of existing water supplies as pumping increases in the Denver Basin aquifers. As roundtable president, Barber pushed for completion of the reports, “Projects and Methods to Meet the Needs of the Arkansas Basin.” The document includes consumptive and nonconsumptive needs studies and represents the consensus of the roundtable’s first four years of meetings. It also begins to rate the relative importance of projects in meeting the state “gap” in water supply identified in 2004 by the Colorado Water Conservation board. It places the highest priority on sustainable projects. The ideas included in the report are rated on three questions: Is it viable? Is it equitable? Is is bearable?…

Every member of the roundtable represents a constituency – special interests – and Barber’s are his clients in El Paso County, which include two water authorities whose members are hunting for future water supplies. Three of them have purchased ranches for water rights in the past three years, one is trying to buy rights on two valley canals and collectively, they unsuccessfully tried to buy control of the Bessemer Ditch in 2008…

Barber’s comments about SDS reflect years of frustration over including other areas of El Paso County besides Colorado Springs, Security and Fountain in the $1 billion-plus project. He has frequently been outspoken on the need for regionalism…

A study by the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority concluded it would cost at least $1 billion to build its own pipeline from the lower Arkansas Valley…

Colorado Springs City Council, sitting as the utilities board, has discussed including other El Paso County users as customers of SDS and the possibility of using it as a regional delivery system. No formal decisions on that concept have been made, however.

More Southern Delivery System coverage here and here.

Leave a Reply