Arkansas River Compact Administration meeting recap: Colorado is 44,000 acre-feet in the black for deliveries at the Kansas border

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Accounting for flows through 2010 shows that Colorado has credits of about 44,000 acre-feet in a 10-year running average of flows, said Kevin Salter, of the Kansas engineering staff. The accounting is required as part of the Kansas v. Colorado U.S. Supreme Court lawsuit filed in 1985 and concluded in 2009…

Despite below-average precipitation and river flows in the Arkansas River basin the past decade, actions by water users have been paying off, said Bill Tyner, assistant Colorado Water Division 2 engineer. “LAWMA (the Lower Arkansas Water Management Association) has really helped themselves with the Kessee Ditch purchase in 2004. It has increased their ability to supply water to the appropriate account.”

More coverage from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

“We see the water lease-fallowing program to be an alternative to buy-and-dry in the Western United States,” said Jay Winner, general manager of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District, which has supported the [Arkansas Valley Super Ditch] with legal and engineering help. Winner was speaking Thursday at the annual meeting of the Arkansas River Compact Administration. He also updated the administration on the Lower Ark district’s assistance to farmers in forming a group plan for compliance to surface irrigation rules and on the progress of Fountain Creek studies and projects. A pilot program next year will involve a one-year sale of up to 500 acre-feet of water from the Catlin Canal, one of seven ditches which could participate in Super Ditch. No contracts for the lease have been signed, but El Paso County water users such as Fountain have been approached. The district is doing engineering work to determine how to mimic return flows from land temporarily taken out of production for the pilot program. The district is looking at options like ponds on the ditch itself to provide them…

“I think the transparency of the project is important and that you continue to keep us informed,” said David Barfield, chief engineer for Kansas.

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More coverage from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

The administration board heard a report on the pipeline in its engineering committee, but did not refer it to a special engineering committee that has been formed to resolve issues during and after the U.S. Supreme Court case filed in 1985 and resolved in 2009. The move means it would be at least another year before the pipeline could even be discussed, barring a special meeting.

“My suggestion is that we wait until they make a filing in water court and then decide on how to move forward,” said David Barfield, chief engineer for Kansas. “There’s clear language under compact article 5H on moving water out of District 67. It’s never been done before.”

“We have to let the proponent move forward and then determine the best process to address this,” said Matt Heimerich, of Olney Springs, a Colorado administration member.

More Arkansas River basin coverage here.

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