Arkansas Valley Conduit update

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“We need to get this group back together (in June) to talk about the cost estimates before the district goes to each city and water utility,” Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District President Bill Long told the conduit advisory committee Tuesday. The committee has met for years discussing the engineering, route and benefits of the conduit. Now, with $5 million in federal funding this year, the project is finally approaching reality. Southeastern is trying to secure $8 million from Congress to continue work next year.

Revised cost estimates are expected next month, and cities or districts east of Pueblo will be formally asked to sign funding agreements later this year. The local share of funding for construction would be offset by federal legislation that allows payment from excess-capacity contracts to defray those costs. Area water suppliers would still have to fund operation and maintenance, said Phil Reynolds, project director. The conduit could be built as soon as 2018, if the environmental review process is not drawn out, if Congress fully funds it and if no major snags develop, said Kevin Meador of Black & Veatch, the lead consultants. With any luck, the National Environmental Policy Act review — most likely an Environmental Impact Statement — by the Bureau of Reclamation will take about 2 years, Meador said…

Four alternatives have been identified either along U.S. 50 or north of the Arkansas River. More than 200 miles of pipeline, a treatment plant to filter the water, storage tanks and pumping stations are part of the plans…

Making its way through Pueblo, the conduit’s route would either cut through the city in a more-or-less straight shot from the Whitlock plant on the north-of-the-river route, or follow the Bessemer Ditch to the St. Charles Mesa, hooking up with U.S. 50 near Avondale…

East of Las Animas, the routes to Lamar and Eads are fairly well determined…

The Southeastern District has determined there are 41 water providers serving 57,655 people who are still interested in participating in the conduit, said Hal Simpson, a former state engineer who is working as a water resources consultant on the conduit. By 2050, the population is projected to increase to between 76,000-82,000. Because some cities are projecting mixing their current supplies with the conduit water, the projected demand from the conduit would be about 9.3 million gallons per day now, increasing to 12.3 million gallons per day by 2050. The pipeline would be sized to deliver for the peak day. Fryingpan-Arkansas Project supplies, on average, would amount to about three-fifths of the water delivered through the conduit. The rest would come from already identified sources, with some potential gaps that could mean the purchase of agricultural water rights, Simpson said.

More Arkanasas Valley Conduit coverage here and here.

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