Tuesday: Two Eagle River area utilities and Eagle county will be the first entities to sign the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement


Here’s the release from Eagle County (Diane Johnson/Kris Friel):

Leaders from Eagle County, Eagle River Water & Sanitation District, Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority and Eagle Park Reservoir Company will gather at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Eagle County Building to sign the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement. Five years in the making, the agreement between Denver Water and 41 Western Slope water providers, local governments and ski resort operators ensures statewide cooperation on Colorado River water issues and is the broadest in scope of its kind in state history.

The signing in Eagle will be the first to take place in the state as the agreement makes its way from the Colorado River headwaters to the Utah state line. The draft document is available on the Colorado River District website at www.crwcd.org/page_336.

Focused on cooperation, the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement brings traditional water foes together as partners for responsible water development benefiting both Denver Water and the Western Slope. According to its authors, it prevents future transmountain diversions from the Eagle River Basin, achieves better environmental health in the Colorado River Basin, promotes high-quality recreational use, and improves economics for many cities, counties and businesses impacted by the river.

The Eagle County entities were instrumental in both initiating and completing the complicated negotiations that ultimately created the agreement. “The cooperative effort represents a new way of doing business when it comes to water,” said Gov. John Hickenlooper during the April 28, 2011 announcement of the agreement. “It shows that water solutions must be crafted from a statewide perspective. We hope and expect that this process will ripple across Colorado to other areas of water conflict.”

In addition to its benefits for Denver Water and the Western Slope, the agreement will trigger a major water-sharing and conservation arrangement between Denver Water and Aurora Water and water providers in the South Denver Metro Area.

The agreement focuses on enhancing the environmental river health in much of the Colorado River Basin and its tributaries upstream of Grand Junction, and supporting many Western Slope communities and water providers to improve the quality and quantity of water through new municipal water projects and river management initiatives.

Locally, benefits to the Eagle River Basin include provisions that preclude Denver Water and any entity served by Denver from developing any future water projects in the Eagle River Basin without the approval of the Eagle County entities. Additionally, a Shoshone outage protocol will ensure sufficient flows in the Colorado River through Eagle County during times when the Shoshone Power Plant may not be operational.

Supporters agree that the historic agreement will lead to better management and protection of the Colorado River and its tributaries for years to come. Representatives of the Eagle County entities will be on hand to discuss the agreement in more detail at Tuesday’s meeting. The event will be broadcast live on ecotv18 as well as streamed live and archived for future viewing at http://www.ecotv18.com.

From the Associated Press via The Columbus Republic:

Leaders from Eagle County, Eagle River Water & Sanitation District, Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority and Eagle Park Reservoir Co. are scheduled to meet Tuesday to sign the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement…

The Eagle County entities are among parties that announced the agreement last year with Denver Water, but the parties still have to ratify it. The Eagle County entities would be the first to do so.

More Colorado River Cooperative Agreement coverage here.

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