Interbasin Compact Commission Committee meeting recap: Still looking for a active role in the Colorado’s water world

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Where does the IBCC concentrate their efforts? What sort of projects can they pull off? Can they commit the state of Colorado to bringing water from Flaming Gorge to the Front Range and points south? Their strategy report, released in in December 2010, calls for conservation, alternative water transfers from agriculture, building of projects already envisioned and developing new supplies. Their role in Colorado’s bottom-up water world is still unclear as is any progress they’ve made up until now.

Here’s a report on last week’s meeting from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

Jeris Danielson, a former state engineer who now sits on the IBCC, politely stated that most Coloradans are out of touch with the semi-arid environment most of them live in because municipal water providers have done such a good job plumbing the state so far. But the pipes are old, and the water supplies are being stretched thin, he cautioned. “We have to make sure we don’t get in the way of people who are trying to solve the problem,” Danielson told the IBCC…

At the March Summit, Danielson posed the question to Gov. John Hickenlooper about the possibility of using private capital to build water projects, since the state and federal government are out of money. Hickenlooper responded with a guarded “yes.”[…]

Its best effort so far has been a “framework” [ed. the December strategy report] that attempts to strike a balance between projects already in the works, urban conservation or reuse, new supplies of water and programs like the Arkansas Valley Super Ditch that allow farmers to keep water rights while selling the water through lease agreements. “What we’re trying to do is create a framework that says, ‘yes, if . . .’ and not say ‘no,’ ’’ said Mike Shimmin, a Boulder water lawyer…

Much of the need for new water supplies will be in the growing areas of Douglas and Arapahoe Counties, represented by the South Metro group. That group is investigating the Flaming Gorge pipeline as a possible new source of supply, and South Metro Executive Director Rod Kuharich even suggested advancing it into the category of “identified projects and processes,” as the IBCC calls those things it already knows about. Kuharich gave a hint of what the IBCC’s role might be: “If I have a project moving forward, do I want the IBCC throwing up a bunch of roadblocks? I don’t think so.”

More IBCC coverage here.

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