Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District update

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From Steamboat Today (Mike Lawrence):

The Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District already has announced plans to raise Stagecoach Reservoir in South Routt County, adding nearly 3,200 acre-feet of water storage capacity to the reservoir’s existing 33,275 acre-feet. Work on that project will begin this summer. On Sunday, general manager Kevin McBride said the district also is taking steps toward a mission statement and, eventually, a master plan. Those steps include public input, beginning with the district’s board meeting later this month. McBride said developing a mission statement and master plan will help formalize, among many district goals, “how we will protect the water resources of the Yampa Valley in light of the pressures outside of the district.”[…]

hose pressures continue to intensify. They include three proposals, in various stages of planning and feasibility, for massive pipelines to transfer water from the Yampa River, Green River or Flaming Gorge Reservoir to Front Range communities. Such proposals have been floated for several years, but the demand for such a large-scale transfer was highlighted in March when the Colorado Water Conservation Board released its Colorado River Water Availability Study for public comment.

Local water attorney Tom Sharp noted that the study provides a range of zero to 1 million acre-feet of remaining, developable water in the Colorado River system, depending on climate and consumption projections. The interesting thing about that range, Sharp said, is its low end. “Until this study, no study had been done by any regional or state government saying that the number remaining for Colorado River development could be zero,” Sharp said…

Combine the pipeline proposals and state projections with population growth and the potential for increased energy development on the Western Slope, and the need for formalized planning is clear. There currently is no comprehensive, guiding document specific to the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District, which oversees Stagecoach and Yamcolo reservoirs and supplies untreated water to local municipalities, agricultural users and Tri-State Generation and Transmission’s Craig Station power plant. McBride said the district has founding documents, various objectives and some principles for projects and transactions, but nothing under one roof, so to speak.

McBride said Conservancy District officials will make a presentation to Steamboat Spr­ings City Council on May 18 in Centennial Hall on 10th Street. The district’s board meets at 3 p.m. May 19 in the Routt County Courthouse, in the Commissioners Hearing Room on the third floor.

More Yampa River Basin coverage here and here.

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