Monte Vista: City council approves option for 300 acre-feet of augmentation water

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Matt Hildner):

City council approved an option to buy 300 acre-feet of water from nearby Anderson Ditch Thursday to offset pumping from the town’s seven groundwater wells. The purchase would still depend on the city securing financing for $665,000 and the approval of the court for Water Division 3.

The move could also conflict with the bureau’s proposal, which called for a land-for-water swap that would bring 189 acre-feet from the ditch. Mike Blakeman, a public affairs officer for the BLM’s San Luis Valley office, said the agency would continue to pursue its project, given that Monte Vista’s deal had yet to be finalized. In exchange for the water, the agency intends to trade 2,693 acres to the Sun Peaks Land Co., which controls the water rights that were up for sale. The bureau’s proposal, first unveiled at the end of 2007, would have used the water to offset groundwater pumping that feeds the Blanca Wetlands, a series of ponds and marshes on 9,775 acres in eastern Alamosa County. The agency pumps water in the area to maintain habitat for migratory birds and replace wetlands lost with the construction of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Closed Basin Project…

Both the city and the BLM are trying to comply with state law requiring groundwater users to find replacement water for pumping that injures senior surface water users…

Should the city make it through financing and gain water court approval, it hopes to store the water in the Rio Grande Reservoir where it would be available for replacement purposes on the Rio Grande…

The city expects the purchase would increase water rates for the roughly 2,000 taps in town by a $1.42 per month.

More Rio Grande Basin coverage here and here.

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