Arkansas Valley Super Ditch: Pilot program between the Pikes Peak Water Authority and the Caitlin Ditch planned for 2012

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

A transfer of up to 500 acre-feet of water to the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority is planned in 2012 from the Catlin Canal to demonstrate how future Super Ditch deals could work, said John Schweizer, president of both the Super Ditch and the Catlin Canal. “The Super Ditch board agreed that we should limit the scope to one ditch, because of the complexity,” Schweizer said Wednesday…

During the transfer, the number of acres equivalent to the consumptive use of the contract would have to be dried up. No water rights owners would be forced to participate. Accounting for the transfer would be handled through a state administrative plan. The Super Ditch has filed an exchange plan in Division 2 Water Court, but does not yet have a decree. No change of use application has yet been filed…

Water would be delivered to Lake Pueblo, where the city of Fountain can either use it directly through the Fountain Valley Conduit or store it…

So far, the results at controlled test plots at the Rocky Ford Agriculture Research Center show that land that has been fallowed one, two or three years still can produce more than 200 bushels of corn per acre after it is brought back into production. In terms of annual return, corn netted between $120-$640 per acre, after costs of production were factored in. Corn prices were significantly higher in 2010 than when the study began in 2007 — the price increased to $4.89/bushel from $3.29/bushel. The cost of leaving ground fallow was $100-$200 per acre, which would have to be factored as an expense into a lease agreement.

More Arkansas Valley Super Ditch coverage here and here.

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