Arkansas Basin and Gunnison Basin roundtables joint meeting recap

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“The Front Range has growing pains, but those who give up water have the pain of amputation,” said George Sibley, a Gunnison writer who for years ran the Western Water Forum at Western State College.
The American West has to change from saying it will provide water for all who come, to making those who move into it realize it is an arid environment, Sibley said.

Colorado is considering contracting with the Bureau of Reclamation for up to 200,000 acre-feet in the Aspinall Unit — Blue Mesa, Crystal and Morrow Point reservoirs west of Gunnison. The state could claim the water under the Colorado River Compact and still meet endangered species fish flows, said Alexandra Davis, director of the Interbasin Compact Committee. But how the Aspinall Unit could be used by Colorado occupied much of the discussion Monday.

“The bottom line is that we don’t want expectations that the water will be there,” said Ken Spann, a director of the Upper Gunnison Water Conservancy District. Spann said there already is a deficit of 100,000 acre-feet for irrigators in the Gunnison River basin, and it cannot afford to give up water to meet Front Range needs…

The groups ultimately wanted to ask the state to investigate whether a “marketable pool” exists in the Aspinall Unit, and other reservoirs, as a first step. Future meetings were scheduled to address the issues broached Monday. “We need to talk about the marketable supply of water sooner rather than later,” said Jay Winner, general manager of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District. “We cannot keep looking at the dry-up of agriculture as the way to supply future water.”

More IBCC — basin roundtables coverage here.

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