Purchase of Animas-La Plata water would take most of the dough that the state has available

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From The Durango Herald (Joe Hanel):

Legislators offered support Wednesday for spending $12 million on the second installment of the purchase, which could total $36 million over three years. The state water board began buying A-LP water from the federal government last year, at the urging of former state Sen. Bruce Whitehead. The state was facing a deadline to either buy into the project and get a seat on its governing board, or lose the chance. A top water official said the Colorado Water Conservation Board will decide by early fall whether to seek the last $12 million from the Legislature or to buy only a portion of the 10,460 acre-feet set aside for the state. If the state doesn’t buy the water, Colorado’s two Ute Indian tribes would get it free of charge…

The La Plata-Archuleta Water District has talked about using Animas-La Plata water to supply drinking water to southeast La Plata County. But the Colorado Water Conservation Board is focusing on the purchase of the water from the federal government, and it is not in negotiations for what to do once it owns the water, Gimbel said. The purchase is by far the largest part of the annual water projects bill, House Bill 1274, by Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling. This year’s bill spends $14 million, a shadow of past years’ bills that used to be among the most expensive pieces of legislation of the year. The 2007 bill, for example, made $150 million worth of grants and loans.

More Animas-La Plata Project coverage here.

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