Rio Grande Roundtable meeting recap: Flaming Gorge pipeline could take the pressure off the San Luis Valley

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From the Valley Courier (Ruth Heide):

…the Flaming Gorge proposal and others like it that would bring water into Colorado from other areas could significantly affect the San Luis Valley because the Valley would not be such a target for water export schemes if other sources could be found.

Valley water expert Steve Vandiver recently reported to the water group, the Rio Grande Roundtable, that a task force is looking into the Flaming Gorge proposal as a future water source for Colorado…

He said this would be a fairly aggressive, expensive project, which is one of two or three projects that would bring outside water to the Front Range. The Flaming Gorge project has been estimated at $2-4 billion for construction, possibly through a private/public venture. The customers of such an expensive venture would have to be municipalities who could afford the water, Vandiver said. He said he understood the estimated output from the Flaming Gorge could be 175,000-300,000 acre feet of water annually…

Vandiver said it is important for the Valley water users to have “a place at the table” in discussions about future water sources such as the Flaming Gorge proposal to prevent ag land here from becoming a target for water acquisition, as it has on the Front Range. If one of these proposals [CWCB new supply concepts] such as the Flaming Gorge does not pan out, the “easy pickings” for water acquisition will be agricultural land with water rights, Vandiver said. “There’s a bigger picture this roundtable needs to be involved in and needs to consider,” Vandiver said. “Think about what our role in that could and should be.”[…]

He said IBCC statewide funds will help pay for the Flaming Gorge task force, but he and Smith believe it might be a good move for the Rio Grande Basin roundtable to put in some money from its account as well. Smith will talk to the roundtable group in August about funding somewhere in the range of $5,000 from the basin to help with the task force.

More Flaming Gorge Task Force coverage here.

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