The Pueblo Board of Water Works approves lease agreement for the Donala Water and Sanitiation District

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The 20-year lease agreement calls for either trading or selling up to 250 acre-feet of water annually to Donala, so the water district can meet terms of a proposed court settlement with the state of Colorado in a Water Court case. The Pueblo water board would receive a one-time payment of $7,500 and from $12,000 to $96,000 annually, depending on how much water is traded or sold. The rate also escalates over time, depending on general rate increases approved by the water board…

Under the agreement, the Pueblo water board would receive $50 per acre-foot, plus a 10 percent gain in the amount of water leased in a contract exchange of its water in Turquoise Lake for Donala water in Lake Pueblo. The 10 percent gain comes because there would be no transit loss in moving water in a paper trade. Alternately, the Pueblo water board would receive $385 per acre-foot if it sells water to Donala, according to the proposed agreement…

The ranch will provide part of the water supply for Donala’s 2,700 customers, who now rely primarily on dwindling groundwater reserves from the Denver basin aquifers. In a Water Court case in March, Pueblo District Judge Dennis Maes sided with the state engineer’s opinion that Donala would need to make winter releases to augment the Arkansas River, primarily to meet the in-stream flow requirements of Willow Creek under a decree held by the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Donala chose to seek augmentation water from Turquoise Lake, but had no way of getting an account in the reservoir, said Dana Duthie, Donala manager…

Several board members wanted to make sure the water would stay within the Arkansas River basin, since Donala has a small portion of undeveloped land in the South Platte River basin. “It’s in their contract with Colorado Springs and in the (Water Court) decree that they can’t use the water outside the Arkansas basin,” Executive Director Alan Hamel said.

More Pueblo Board of Water Works coverage here.

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