From The Pueblo Chieftain (Matt Hildner):
One of the main groups objecting to how irrigators in part of the San Luis Valley mitigate the harm caused by groundwater pumping has chosen not to withdraw a number of its claims from court. The move by surface water users from the Conejos River basin and the northwestern corner of the valley, which came in a Tuesday filing to the water court for the Rio Grande basin, means a scheduled trial is still on for Oct. 29.
The objectors reaffirmed their claim against the use of water from the Closed Basin Project, which pumps groundwater from the east side of the valley and sends it down the Rio Grande River to assist Colorado in meeting the Rio Grande Compact.
Subdistrict No. 1, which includes just under 3,400 groundwater wells in the north-central part of the valley, had proposed using up to 2,500 acre-feet from the federal reclamation project to replace an estimated 4,700 acre-feet in depletions this year.
The subdistrict also has leased rights to roughly 5,500 acre-feet from reservoirs and trans-basin diversions near the Rio Grande’s headwaters to meet the depletions.
Judge Pattie Swift said last week the issue concerning the reclamation project could not be decided without a trial since there were issues of fact that were in dispute.
Swift also said the proposal from objectors to have a special master appointed likely would not be decided until after the trial.