San Miguel River: CWCB instream flow right filing prompts Montrose County to make a defensive water rights filing on the river

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From the Montrose Daily Press (Katharhynn Heidelberg):

To protect future growth, Montrose County needs to secure water rights against an instream flow claim on a 17.4-mile stretch of the San Miguel River, officials say…

The Colorado Water Conservation Board determined it’s in the state’s interest to file for the instream flow. Its study determined there is enough water for appropriation on the river between the Calamity Draw Confluence, a few miles west of Nucla, and the confluence of the Dolores River to “preserve the natural environment to a reasonable degree without limiting or foreclosing the exercise of valid, existing water rights.”

The county is not so certain of that, at least, not when it comes to future needs.

Montrose County was able to file in December 2010 for rights ahead of the CWCB’s Oct. 31 filing this year, thanks to the board’s decision to delay its own application. The county wants approximately 25,600 acre-feet per year. There are ongoing costs associated with the filing — about $476,000 between this year and last. Its claim is being heard in water court.

More San Miguel River coverage here and here.

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