The Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District technical advisory committee is looking at water rights with respect to flood mitigation projects


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“Stormwater is a make or break situation,” said Dan Henrichs, superintendent of the High Line Canal. “The question is: Whose water is it, and how do you get it to them?” Storms on Fountain Creek can affect water rights on the entire Arkansas River, because the call — the most recent priority date for diversion of water — changes once the water enters the Arkansas River at the confluence in Pueblo…

The Fountain Creek District anticipates building several flood control projects on Fountain Creek, and is awaiting the results of a U.S. Geological Survey study — expected in draft form by the end of 2012 — of the impact of dams or diversions on storm water detention, said Larry Small, executive director of the district…

Some of the projects are under way as demonstration projects, and water rights are being administered by substitute water supply plans. Kevin Rein, deputy state engineer for the Division of Water Resources, said any large project on Fountain Creek would require such a plan, and eventually would require a decree from water court so it could be administered. The state now has a “passively” administered accounting system for small, site-specific detention ponds that allows them to hold water and release it over 72 hours. That standard has been discussed in Fountain Creek projects that create wetlands and side detention ponds. But a more thorough accounting for water rights will be needed for projects on Fountain Creek, he said.

“We have an obligation to see that the Arkansas River Compact (with Kansas) is upheld,” added Alan Hamel, a member of the Colorado Water Conservation Board…

In a spirited discussion with about 40 people in attendance — including some farmers — the group was unable to come to a specific conclusion about what sort of agreement could be reached on Fountain Creek. How much water would be detained, and where, remain unknown.

More Fountain Creek coverage here and here.

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