Grand County: Denver Water and several west slope organizations to announce a deal on upper Colorado transmountain diversion projects on April 28

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The negotiations have been under a nondisclosure agreement. Here’s the link to Allan Best’s analysis running in He writes:

No single part of this agreement stands out. This is not like a new dam or tunnel. Yet collectively, these elements of compromise may well represent the most important single water news since the veto of the Two Forks Dam in 1990.

Now, the various water agencies will have to sell the deal to their constituencies. Heartburn may be evident on both sides of the Continental Divide. Denver residents may very well question why, if Denver owns the water, it must “pay” Summit and Grand counties to use it.

And for the Western Slope, this does represent further export of water.

Some potential details:

– Key Western Slope organizations remove their opposition to Denver’s plan to draw more water from the close-in headwaters areas near Winter Park and in Summit County.
– The Western Slope also withdraws potential legal opposition to Denver’s plans to sell recycled water from its diversions to thirsty suburbs that now depend upon wells.
– The deal also requires Denver to step up conservation and reuse efforts.
– [The deal] specifies several tens of millions of dollars in grants to Western Slope water organizations
– [It will create] more flexible water-management regimes intended to achieve environmental goals and benefit recreational interests…

This settlement arguably represents a new template for Front Range-Western Slope relations, one that reflects a new balance of power in Colorado and also new sensibilities. This is in sharp contrast with attitudes and laws prior to the late 1960s and early 1970s.

More coverage from Mr. Best running in the Summit Daily News. From the article:

-The deal will also place limits on future diversions by both Denver and key suburbs.
– The agreement also obligates Denver to provide some of its existing water in Summit County for use by local jurisdictions
– The deal obligates Denver to keep Dillon Reservoir nearly full except in specified drought conditions.
– The agreement also requires Denver to provide cash for water projects in Summit and Grand counties.

I wonder where the Shoshone right sits in all of this?

More Colorado River Basin coverage here.

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