Fountain Creek: Lower Arkansas River irrigators are speaking out about the effect of potential flood control projects on junior water rights


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“It’s the same question I kept asking on the Vision Task Force,” said Dan Henrichs, superintendent of the High Line Canal and secretary of the Arkansas Valley Ditch Association. “Whose water is it [ed. flood water/storm water], and how do you get it to them?”

While the September rainfall was heavy in Colorado Springs, it was light or nonexistent in the farmlands along the Arkansas River. In addition, the native flows from the Arkansas River were held back during the high-water event on Fountain Creek to avoid worsening flood conditions. Flows at Avondale were only briefly above the flood limit of 6,000 cfs. The return flows from the banks and side channels along Fountain Creek lasted for two weeks…

While Pueblo’s side detention pond may have had a negligible impact on the September stormwater, a whole series of them could have a much bigger impact. Water rights must be incorporated into the current U.S. Geological Survey study of the impact a dam or series of dams would have on Fountain Creek, Henrichs added. There are indications many others agree. The technical advisory committee of the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District wants to better understand how water rights would be affected by projects the district is coordinating, according to comments at last week’s meeting by Executive Director Larry Small…

Henrichs said he would prefer a more detailed analysis of the historic timing of Fountain Creek flows and development of a way to release flows to the appropriate users — like the winter water program that allows irrigators to store during winter months when irrigation is impractical or unnecessary.

More Fountain Creek coverage here and here.

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