Arkansas Basin Roundtable: The Arkansas Valley Super Ditch was on everyone’s mind


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The Arkansas Basin Roundtable agreed to seek another $76,000 toward an engineering tool that is expected to reduce water court costs related to Super Ditch. The Colorado Water Conservation Board has already approved a grant of $121,000 toward the study, while local water agencies are providing another $157,000 in in-kind services, said Terry Scanga, general manager of the Upper Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District. “This is a fallowing accounting and administration tool that is designed to reduce transaction costs in water court for objectors and proponents of a lease-fallowing program,” Scanga said. “Lease programs are different from applications to buy and dry. We need a way to assess historic use and impacts to the river.”

Conservancy districts, municipal users, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and state agencies are all interested in developing a common platform to assess the impacts. If a change of use application is filed by Super Ditch in water court, it would cut across as many as seven ditches and perhaps individual farms within those ditches, Scanga said…

The additional $76,000 is to compile documentation that could be used in water court…

One major hurdle will be accounting for winter water, while operating under a court decree to store water in valley reservoirs during winter months for use later, [Dan Henrichs, superintendent of the High Line Canal] said. Winter water can affect the timing of return flows because it is used in different ways — sometimes to start a crop, sometimes to finish one. In certain years, some of the winter water stored in Lake Pueblo is carried over for use in the next year. Much of the water is stored in ditch company reservoirs without a prescribed date of release.

More Arkansas Valley Super Ditch coverage here and here.

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