From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
A panel of municipal water providers looked at the effect of a Colorado Supreme Court ruling in 2009 that rejected Pagosa Springs’ claims of future water needs in connection with building a reservoir. The case presented new tests for cities to prove claims of future population,water supply needs and conservation of water supplies, said Peter Nichols, a water attorney who moderated the panel…
The controversy started in 2006 when Trout Unlimited challenged a district judge’s approval of a new Pagosa Springs reservoir based on a 100-year planning window. Trout Unlimited argued the need was speculative.
The state Supreme Court overturned approval of the reservoir and sent the case back to the district court. A new claim, based on a 50-year window and alsochallengedby Trout Unlimited, was rejected in 2009. In the court’s opinion, Pagosa Springs failed to prove its case…
For Grand Junction, planning for a water future is difficult because of the boom-and-bust cycles in the local economy that’s tied to energy development.
“The variety of futures is immense,” said Greg Trainor, Grand Junction Utilities manager. “It’s difficult for us to nail down a future.”[…]
[Rod Kuharich, executive director of the South Metro Water Supply Authority] said the South Metro challenge is even more difficult, because in addition to high growth, the area is mining its groundwater reserves.
“I have to plan for future growth and replace groundwater,” Kuharich said. “The greater the restrictions, the harder planning becomes.” Like Trainor, Kuharich said he believes flexibility is needed to find water solutions. Right now, South Metro is negotiating with Denver and Aurora for using return flows. That’s not a sustainable solution, but one that prevents the communities in South Metro from hunting for ag water supplies.