San Miguel River: Montrose County files for diversion rights for the nascent uranium boom ahead of Colorado in-stream flow program

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From The Telluride Daily Planet (Benjamin Preston):

water supply along certain parts of the San Miguel River isn’t guaranteed during certain parts of the year. That’s why the Colorado Water Conservation Board began moving in 2010 to preserve in-stream river flows by filing water rights claims with the 7th Judicial district Court. Montrose County wasted no time filing water rights claims along the San Miguel River — before CWCB filed its claims — aimed at securing water to supply a uranium boom its officials see coming on the county’s West End.

The proposed water development project — for which Montrose County has already had preliminary engineering and analysis done — calls for 6,400 acre-feet of water per year to supply West End uranium milling and its associated economic growth.

More significant, perhaps, is that the water would be stored in a number of new reservoirs — one of the larger ones to be sited in San Miguel County, in a canyon near Wright’s Mesa once slated for the development of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Marie Scott dam — holding more than 25,000 acre-feet of water, according to court water rights application documents….

Nearly 20 different entities — including San Miguel County, the Town of Telluride, Sheep Mountain Alliance, several ranchers, Discovery Channel and Gateway Canyons Resort owner John Hendricks and even the state engineer — have formally objected to Montrose County’s filings, contending that its uranium development projection is speculative, and therefore in violation of state water laws.

More nuclear coverage here and here.

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