From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
Denver businessman [John McKowen] has purchased the vast majority of shares of the Huerfano-Cucharas Irrigation Co. with an eye toward putting thousands of acres back into crop production. Under a $30 million plan, McKowen wants to fix Cucharas Reservoir, strengthen water rights and improve the value of farmland in southern Pueblo County. McKowen also intends to develop a 100-megawatt solar array as a secondary piece of the project. “Our intent is to rebuild the dam at Cucharas Reservoir, continue with the ditch and reintroduce agriculture to the area,” said McKowen, 60, chairman and CEO of the Two Rivers Water Co. “It would be a shame to see the land go to waste.”[…]
The centerpiece of the project, however, is the rehabilitation of Cucharas Reservoir, which could be done in early 2011. McKowen is working with ASI Constructors of Pueblo West to build a roller-compacted concrete dam just downstream of the existing dam. GEI consultants is doing the engineering work for the project. Because of sedimentation, the capacity of the new dam would be about 50,000 acre-feet, compared to about 10,000 acre-feet at present. As of this week, it was storing just 2,000 acre-feet. The project will cost about $30 million over the first five years, with possibly $100 million in eventual investment. The project also has a secondary component to develop a 100-megawatt solar energy array on land in the area that McKowen intends to buy. McKowen is putting up much of the capital himself, as he has in past business ventures, but will seek other investors.
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