The Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District settles with the state over new ag rules in the Arkansas Valley

A picture named irrigation

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

A 14-day trial is scheduled to begin on Nov. 16, but in many water cases, many of the provisions that would be argued in court are settled through stipulations. Many of the objections, called statements of opposition, are filed to monitor the case, protect water rights or conditions that have been previously worked out.

State Engineer Dick Wolfe and Division Engineer Steve Witte hosted meetings in 2008-09 with many of those who would be affected by the rules, altering them along the way with suggestions made during the meetings. The rules are meant to protect Colorado from future litigation by Kansas over the Arkansas River Compact. The rules prevent increased consumptive use through irrigation efficiency improvements like sprinklers, drip systems and canal linings.

Southeastern is the first to reach a stipulation, which also has led to a draft proposed decree in the case. The stipulation preserves the proper use of Fryingpan-Arkansas Project flows, winter water storage and compliance with U.S. Supreme Court decisions on the compact…

Ditch companies and some landowners are still not happy with the rules, and filed in protest of them. They include the Fort Lyon, Catlin, Amity, District 67 ditches, Beaver Park Water in Penrose, Smith Mutual Ditch in Lamar and the Arkansas Valley Ditch Association. Other individuals and lateral groups also protested. “The proposed rules are unconstitutional, contrary to law, vague, arbitrary, capricious and not reasonable,” wrote Carolyn Burr, attorney for the Catlin Canal.

More Ark Valley Consumptive Use Rules coverage here and here.

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