Southern Delivery System: Colorado Springs Utilities is moving dirt but contract negotiations with Reclamation are delaying the construction start at the Pueblo Dam

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From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Daniel Chaćon):

…a late-in-the-game tangle with the federal government means Utilities still doesn’t have key contracts it needs to start construction at the Pueblo Reservoir, the mouth of the 62-mile pipeline…

Utilities officials insist the unfinished contracts won’t stop or delay construction. They point to a 4,000-foot section of pipeline that workers recently laid along Marksheffel Road, marking the unofficial start of the project. And, they say, a 4-mile stretch of construction will start in El Paso County in February or March. Utilities has already invested more than $100 million in the project. “It’s important that we take the time to get these final details resolved in a way that protects our customers’ best interests,” John Fredell, SDS project manager, said Friday.

Although it’s unclear when Utilities and the bureau will reach agreement on the contracts, it’s primarily “lawyerly language” that needs to be ironed out, said David Robbins, outside legal counsel for Utilities. “I hope we’re pretty close,” he said this week.

According to interviews and e-mails between Utilities officials and bureau representatives, three significant issues remain unresolved:

• A termination, or “subject to appropriation of funds,” provision.

• A desire by Utilities officials to take advantage of lower water storage rates if other entities get such rates in the future.

• A schedule detailing how much water each of the SDS partners needs to store each year and the cost over the life of the contracts.

More Southern Delivery System coverage here and here.

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