Sterling: Lower South Platte Symposium recap

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From the Sterling Journal Advocate (Judy Debus) via The Fort Morgan Times:

Dave Nettles, division engineer for the South Platte River Basin, presented an overview and update on the water supply and the future administration of that supply. He noted the use of technology that will be used in water reporting and water accounting highlighting the fact that of 2010 most or all major surface water diversions in Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 64 are on data loggers and telemetry. It was also during that time that remote reporting of flow meter readings was investigated. Nettles also addressed the proposed well measurement rules that are being finalized. It is ex-pected that there will be public meetings for comment and information sometime in April or May and the goal is adoption of the rules by the end of this year…

The first step to the [Lower South Platte Water Cooperative] was identifying the excess supplies of water and meeting the strong desire for optimizing water use, Yahn said. Studies included alternative transfers and other water sources after which time a steering committee was formed, made up of water users and water professionals. The steering committee members began meeting with potential participants sharing their initial objectives for the group. The major defining objective was that any plan for moving water must be “fair, open, and transparent and must work within the existing system of water right so that no injury occurs,” Yahn said. Objectives to meet their goal included investigating the feasibility of moving water and if there was a potential, to raise support for it and work toward implementation.

The group joined the Colorado Corn Growers Association Alternative Transfer Method (ATM) Project team and through the ALT grant, was able to study the various components of amount of excess, how it can be exchanged, how much free river water exists and if a new infrastructure be useful. The committee continued to raise support for further study through not only the ATM grant, but also CWCB funds and a WSRA grant according to Joe Frank, executive director of the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District. The WSRA grant will help them to meet the objective of evaluating an organizational frame-work for the water cooperative and eventually begin operation planning and develop an organiza-tional structure. The ATM grant will continue to assist in meeting the objective of evaluating the operation plan through meetings with stakeholders, data, measurement and accounting needs, as-sess operational costs and methods of financing and other economic and operational considerations for the Coop. The ATM grant is currently in the contracting process and is scheduled for completion two years after the notice to proceed, Frank said.

More South Platte River basin coverage here.

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