Arkansas River valley: Irrigators depending on Fryingpan-Arkansas Project flows to hold off this year’s drought

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Storage is the key for irrigators in dry years. Here’s a report about the use of Fryingpan-Arkansas Project transmountain water in the Arkansas River valley this year, from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

“Fry-Ark water is about what we live on,” said Donny Hansen, president of the Holbrook Canal. “The longer it stays cold in the mountains, the better for us. We have a junior water right, but a senior storage right because early on they realized we would need it.”

Even the Bessemer Ditch in Pueblo County is looking for a large allocation of Fry-Ark water, and has leased some water from Colorado Springs. “As dry as it is, we ’re really dependent on (Fry-Ark flows) because it just doesn’t seem like it’s going very far,” said Bessemer Superintendent Mike Hill. “The more we can get, the better.”[…]

The Bureau of Reclamation Tuesday announced 94,200 acre-feet of water will be imported through the Boustead Tunnel this year. Of that, a little more than 77,000 acre-feet is expected to be available for allocation, said Bob Hamilton, engineering supervisor for the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District. Requests from municipalities total about 16,000 acre-feet, which would leave more than 61,000 acre-feet for agriculture — about the same amount that would naturally flow into the Bessemer Ditch in an average year. The district will allocate the water later this month.

More Fryingpan-Arkansas Project coverage here.

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