CWCB: The goal of a grant approved Wednesday is to, ‘develop a consistent way to measure crop consumptive use,’ for ag water lease-fallowing change cases


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The $279,000 study would develop a consistent way to measure crop consumptive use that can be transferred if the water is sold through lease programs such as the Arkansas Valley Super Ditch. Colorado Springs Utilities, Pueblo Board of Water Works and the Lower Arkansas, Upper Arkansas and Southeastern Colorado water conservancy districts will contribute $157,500 toward the study. They received an additional $121,500 from the Colorado Water Conservation Board, which approved a grant in Berthoud Wednesday. “The purpose of this project is not to transfer water via temporary leases, but make possible the water transfer by constraining costs, protecting other water rights from potential injury, maintaining agricultural economies and preserving the institutionalized and long recognized water court process,” said Todd Doherty of the CWCB staff…

The water groups want to develop a commonly accepted model that would look at how much water historically has been used to grow crops in the major agricultural areas of the Lower Arkansas Valley and how much flows off fields to be returned to the Arkansas River. Traditionally, those determinations have been made on a case-by-case basis in water court…

“The reason our district is involved in looking at these temporary transfers is because they could have deleterious effects on other water rights,” [Terry Scanga of the Upper Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District] told the board. “This would provide a common platform so that transferrable use of water could be preserved. We’re looking at potential impacts, and that could reduce the costs of both objectors and applicants in water court.”

Click through and read the whole article, including the handy glossary of terms dealing with ag water transfers.

More Arkansas River basin coverage here.

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