Arkansas Basin roundtable meeting recap

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The Super Ditch request [to fund a study that would help define how irrigation water is used and stored as part of the effort to launch the Arkansas Valley Super Ditch] for $225,000 came from the CWCB itself, because it originated through another process that is examining alternatives to selling agricultural water rights to cities. Super Ditch would sell water to cities through lease agreements by pooling the ag rights and fallowing the appropriate amount of farm ground. Roundtable members questioned whether the engineering data could be used in court cases that eventually will be needed to change the use of the water. A case is in Division 2 Water Court for an exchange plan to move water into Lake Pueblo. “The study is good, but we need to be cognizant of the decrees,” said Terry Scanga, general manager of the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District…

The study has six objectives:

– Modeling reservoirs in the Lower Arkansas Valley that would be used in the exchange plan.
– Modeling Lake Pueblo operations.
– Looking at whether the winter water program could be integrated into Super Ditch operations.
– Recovering supplies that aren’t available for direct exchange.
– Calibrating and optimizing flow data from the Arkansas River
-Finalizing engineering data on each of the ditches to determine yield under different scenarios….

More on project funding from the article:

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, $350,000 to rebuild a dangerous diversion structure on the Arkansas River near Buena Vista. The project will improve water delivery on the Helena Ditch, which includes the Buena Vista Correctional Facility; provide safer passage for commercial and private rafters (one fatality and numerous injuries have been reported at the site); and allow trout to move upstream with the construction of a fish ladder, said Rob White, AHRA manager.

Blue Mesa study, $245,000 in a joint project with the Gunnison Basin Roundtable to study whether releases from Blue Mesa Reservoir on the Gunnison River can be used to avoid or reduce the impact of curtailment under the Colorado River Compact. Otherwise, supplying additional water to downstream states during drought years could mean reducing transmountain diversions.

Statewide celebration of water, $86,000 for an effort by the Colorado Foundation for Water Education and major water interests in Colorado to improve public understanding of water issues in 2012.

Colorado State University Extension, $47,000 for a program that would improve distribution of data from the Colorado Agricultural Meteorological network through traditional media like newspapers and radio, as well as in emerging media through text services. The network includes weather stations up and down the Arkansas River.

State Engineer. The roundtable also agreed to write a letter of support for a grant request from the account by the Colorado Division of Water Resources to improve its database used to tabulate water rights. The grant will look at how to calculate changes in the alluvial aquifer into water analyses.

More IBCC — basin roundtables coverage here.

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