Southern Delivery System: Colorado Springs Utilities refuses to pay Pueblo County’s legal bills in winter flow program lawsuit

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From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Daniel Chaćon)

The litigation was between Pueblo County and the Pueblo West Metropolitan District.

But Pueblo County contends it had to resolve an “agency dispute” between Colorado Springs Utilities and Pueblo West, one of the SDS partners.

“We consider reimbursement to be a matter of good faith and fairness on the part of CSU and within the spirit of the dispute resolution and fee reimbursement process outlined in Section 29 of the SDS 1041 Permit,” the three-member Pueblo Board of Commissioners said Monday in a letter to John Fredell, SDS project manager.

At issue is a condition of the 1041 Permit that Colorado Springs obtained from Pueblo County to build SDS, a 62-mile pipeline that starts at the Pueblo Reservoir.

The condition required Pueblo West to participate in the Arkansas River Flow Program, which Pueblo West claimed would cost it millions of gallons of water, the Pueblo Chieftain reported.

A settlement between Pueblo County and the metro district was reached last month.

Colorado Springs Utilities participated in negotiations and agreed to provide a paper trade of water in Twin Lakes to make up any losses Pueblo West would suffer, The Chieftain reported Thursday.

In a letter to Pueblo County, Fredell said Thursday the settlement agreement was fair and didn’t contemplate the payment of attorney fees or costs “beyond those which each party determined were necessary to represent its own interest.”

More Southern Delivery System coverage here and here.

Should the U.S. look to water rich Russia for future supplies?

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What community would hitch their horse to the Russians after watching them hold some nations in Europe hostage for natural gas? Well anyway, here’s a guest commentary touting the shipping of water to southern California, written by John M. Barbieri, running in The Denver Post. From the article:

Russia also has vast water resources in the Pacific Far East and Arctic regions and is poised to become a major exporter. Russia and the U.S. can and should work together toward the common purpose of resolving one of the world’s greatest challenges. Both should harness the ingenuity, technology and resources necessary to transfer water from remote locations to a thirsty world, including to the U.S. west coast.

The key to linking Colorado’s water needs and Russia’s water surplus is through ocean transportation, which already carries over 95 percent of world trade. Russian water would be delivered to southern California. This new source for California, which has long exceeded its legal allocation of Colorado River water, would allow The Golden State to relinquish supplies long “borrowed” from other user states, including Colorado. This type of land-based “water transfer” is commonplace throughout the western United States today.

Great Outdoors Colorado grants

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From Great Outdoors Colorado:

In all, 55 grants totaling $24,043,547.30 were awarded for projects in 32 counties. The projects will enhance outdoor recreation opportunities, create plans for future projects and protect 13,595 acres of open space. GOCO received 108 applications requesting approximately $40 million. Click here for a complete list of the Fall 2010 grant awards.

More coverage from The Pueblo Chieftain (Patrick Malone). From the article:

Southern Colorado will reap more than $6 million for parks and outdoor projects, Great Outdoors Colorado announced on Wednesday. Almost $4 million of that sum will feed three open-space projects — two in the San Luis Valley and one in the Upper Arkansas Valley. Another $1.2 million will provide for the Arkansas Riverwalk Trail extension project in Canon City and the final phase of the Kim Equine Pavilion and Education Center in Las Animas County. Pueblo County will receive about $200,000 to add a baseball field at the Runyon Sports Complex and provide new turf for Corsentino Field there.

More conservation coverage here.

La Niña update

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From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Matt Steiner):

La Niña, the cooling of the tropical Pacific, causes mostly the opposite effects of El Niño. La Niña causes above average precipitation across the northern Midwest, the Northern Rockies, Northern California, and in the Pacific Northwest. Meanwhile, there is below average precipitation in the Southwest and Southeast. La Niña’s effects tends to be the more predictable of the two, and this year has been no exception, said Nolan Doesken, Colorado’s state climatologist. “Warmer than average has been dominating our conditions since the fall,” Doesken said. “We’re still in the first few months, so we don’t know how long it will persist.”

Pitkin County: Healthy Rivers and Streams Fund distribution update

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From the Snowmass Sun (Janet Urquhart):

Pitkin County commissioners agreed Tuesday to spend $50,000 on the study, using proceeds from the tax-supported Healthy Rivers and Streams Fund…

A Roaring Fork Watershed Plan being developed by the Roaring Fork Conservancy and Ruedi Water and Power Authority will get a $38,000 boost from the fund to cover a shortfall in finishing the plan, plus $5,000 for other costs, including a couple of educational events planned in 2011…

Commissioners also supported a $100,000 allocation from the fund to pay for legal and engineering fees associated with seeking a recreational water right on the Roaring Fork River in Basalt. The water right would protect flows in the river to benefit river ecology, as well as recreation. A kayak park in the river at Basalt is envisioned.

Click through for the cool photo of Castle Creek running by the site of Aspen’s proposed hydroelectric facility.

More Roaring Fork watershed coverage here.