Arkansas River basin: Woodmoor exchange case update

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The exchange case was referred to Chief District Court Judge Dennis Maes on Monday, after the Pueblo Board of Water Works refused to settle the case in conferences with the water referee. The objections from the water board include the speculative nature of the exchange filing and concerns that water could be used outside the Arkansas River basin — Woodmoor, located in northern El Paso County, straddles the Palmer Divide.

Two other major El Paso County Water Court cases involving the transfer of water rights from the Upper Arkansas River basin are moving ahead as well.

A 2008 application seeking to change the use of water from the H2O Ranch in Custer County purchased for $3.5 million by Fountain and Widefield has been stayed pending the outcome of a 1996 Custer County water rights case that is being appealed to the state Supreme Court. Oral arguments in the case could either increase or decrease the yield of the water from the ranch, according to Curtis Mitchell, water conservation and supply manager for Fountain. The water rights were initially projected to yield 600 acre-feet of water or less annually, but that estimate was shelved until the other case is decided…

A 2009 application involves the change of water rights from the Mount Massive Ranch, purchased by the Donala Water and Sanitation District. While all but four of the 18 objectors in the Water Court case have settled, the Donala case is scheduled to move to trial Tuesday. Donala paid $4.7 million for the ranch and expects about 300 acre-feet annually from the water rights associated with the ranch. The district just north of Colorado Springs envisions a number of ways to use the water, including becoming a future partner in the Southern Delivery System.

More Arkansas River basin coverage here.

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