Rio Grande Water Conservation District quarterly meeting recap: Closed Basin Project operation questioned

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From the Valley Courier (Ruth Heide):

Saying continued pumping of the project “is creating an enormous hardship on north Valley ranches,” [Moffat area rancher Peggy Godfrey] asked the water board to request of the Closed Basin operating committee and/or Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to modify the project. She referred to a section governing the project that allows it to be modified, curtailed or suspended to eliminate adverse effects.

The Rio Grande Water Conservation District (RGWCD) board indicated it would not grant her request. “We will continue to operate this project within its boundaries and within the constraints put on it,” said RGWCD Board President George Whitten who also sits on the Closed Basin Project operating committee. Whitten, who ranches in the northern part of the Valley, told Godfrey although he appreciated her comments, “I respectfully disagree with your findings.”

RGWCD District Engineer Allen Davey, who also sits on the Closed Basin Project operating committee, said, “There is no clear evidence that the Closed Basin Project is causing depletion of the aquifer in the Moffat area.” He said the project was developed to capture salvage water that was being lost. He said pumping has been reduced from project wells when evidence showed they were violating statutory criteria.

More Rio Grande River basin coverage here.

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