Arkansas Valley Conduit update: Cost estimates drop to $400 million

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

As the Arkansas Valley Conduit moves closer to reality, there has been some “nervousness” among participants.

“We have been meeting with some (smaller) communities to answer questions,” said Jim Broderick, executive
director of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District Thursday. “We have new people coming into
the discussion.”

While the cost of the conduit is estimated at $500 million in a draft environmental impact statement by the Bureau
of Reclamation, nearly half of that represents contingency costs that reflect a low level of engineering, Broderick
said.

“We think these numbers will drop,” Broderick said.

The district’s own engineering is further along, and indicates costs will be in line with earlier estimates in the $300
million to $400 million range.

Public meetings on the conduit were conducted last month and produced about seven comments, mostly in favor
of the conduit. A final EIS should be released sometime next year. The next step is to review the cost­benefit
analysis. “We are putting time into it in order to make sure the right details are in it when benefits are calculated,”
Broderick said.

The project has been seriously discussed for the past decade and would not be built for another decade, if federal
funding is in place. In the meantime, water providers large and small are dealing with increased water quality
requirements, particularly for radionuclides and salinity.

Communities may be uncertain of the process and actions they need to take in the meantime, Broderick said.
More frequent updates of the conduit’s progress are planned to keep them informed, he added.

More Arkansas Valley Conduit coverage here and here.

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