The Grand County Mutual Ditch and Reservoir Company is buying Vail Ditch shares to keep the water in the upper Colorado River watershed

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From the Sky-Hi Daily News (Tonya Bina):

The shares are being sold by private landowners and individuals within the Grand County Irrigated Land Company, which historically has had access to 850 acre-feet of senior Vail Ditch water from Meadow Creek and Strawberry Creek, stored in Meadow Creek Reservoir for irrigating ranchlands. The reservoir is located at the northernmost extension of the collection system used to convey water through Denver Water’s Moffat Tunnel…

According to [Grand County Mutual Ditch and Reservoir Company’s president Bruce Hutchins], purchase of the shares preserves how the water is being used today, which is mainly for growing hay, vegetables and for irrigating pastures. The partners would likely lease the shares back to their original owners, he said. “As they come up for sale, we feel it’s better to keep them than to let them possibly go to the East Slope,” he said…

The Vail Ditch was originally built to supply water to the Granby-area mesa for the Great Western Head Lettuce Co. The Vail Ditch Company formed in 1911 when the water right was filed.

Partners with interest in benefiting streamflows for river health and human use from Winter Park on downstream formed The Grand County Mutual Ditch and Reservoir Company in 2005 as a means to purchase shares. In 2008, the Company purchased 85.5 shares using a $1.5 million state matching grant from the Colorado Water Conservation Board through the Colorado River Basin Roundtable.

More Fraser River watershed coverage here.

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