Arkansas Valley water officials worry that Woodmoor plans will dry up more ag land in the valley

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“These gravel pits are for one thing: To transfer water out of the Arkansas River,” said Jay Winner, general manager of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District. “They scare me.” Winner said gravel pit reservoirs would help communities like Woodmoor, located on the Douglas County line in northern El Paso County, move water rights which have been purchased on canals in the Lower Arkansas Valley.

In fact, Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District board has voted to buy land on the Excelsior Ditch now owned by Stonewall Springs LLC. Stonewall has plans to develop three reservoirs on former farmland. There are also potential reservoir sites at gravel pits near Pueblo Memorial Airport and on other privately owned land on the Excelsior. Woodmoor also intends to purchase water rights on the Holbrook, High Line and Excelsior ditch systems as a way of making up for depletions to the Denver Basin aquifers caused by excessive pumping. The Woodmoor district late last year filed for a decree that would allow it to move water upstream through exchanges…

Winner applauded the commissioners’ recent resolution opposing the dry-up of agriculture. The commissioners in May passed a measure supporting water lease-land fallowing programs, such as Super Ditch, that keep water rights in the hands of irrigators. The resolution supports water leasing — sales of water that do not change ownership — as a way to prevent permanent dry-up of agricultural resources. “The Lower Ark is against these types of buy-and-dry activities,” Winner said.

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