Telluride: The Idarado Mining Company is recalling water rights that it gave the town in 1992

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From the Telluride Daily Planet (Matthew Beaudin):

This latest argument is as clear as a river during peak runoff.

Idarado announced last Friday it was recalling water rights it conditionally gave to the Town of Telluride in 1992, and that it would use the water to generate power at the Bridal Veil Power Station, a historic hydroelectric powerplant perched above the tallest waterfall in the state. According to an Idarado press release, the move would not adversely affect the flow in the San Miguel River nor would it diminish the current levels of water over Bridal Veil Falls…

The issue is wholly complex, as most water disputes are. In the wording of the 1992 agreement, it’s stated that Idarado must recall the water for “beneficial” use, meaning the water is applied to a recognized public purpose, such as irrigation or hydroelectricity — exactly what Idarado says it will use the water for. Under water law, the town must give the water back if it deems the request “proper,” which it hasn’t yet determined…

The Bridal Veil Power Station is an uncommon confluence in the channels of groundbreaking utility and improbable beauty and is one of the oldest operating AC generators in the country (behind the Ames hydroelectric station, just up the highway).

More San Miguel River watershed coverage here.

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