Arkansas Valley Super Ditch: ‘There is no reviewable decision to appeal at this time’ — Judge Schwartz


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Opponents of the Super Ditch pilot program jumped the gun when filing a complaint, Division 2 Water Judge Larry Schwartz ruled Monday. In June, Prowers County water users filed the complaint against State Engineer Dick Wolfe and the Arkansas Valley Super Ditch, saying the state did not have authority to approve a substitute water supply plan for Super Ditch. But the plan never was given final approval, because Super Ditch could not meet all of the conditions that were outlined, Schwartz said in the decision.

“There is no reviewable decision to appeal at this time,” Schwartz said.

The pilot program set out to lease 500 acre­feet of water from the Catlin Canal to Fountain and Security. Water would be taken from dried­up acres and released to the river over time through recharge ponds. An exchange would move the water to Lake Pueblo, where it could be used by the cities through the Fountain Valley Conduit. After a public meeting in January and two technical meetings with objectors, Wolfe cut some farms from the plan and the amount of the program in half. Because of the drought and conditions put on the plan, it was never approved or carried out.

Amity Mutual Irrigation Co., District 67 Irrigating Canals Association, Lower Arkansas Water Management Association and Tri​State Generation and Transmission Association filed the court case in May, saying Wolfe lacked authority.

Super Ditch eventually plans to move larger amounts of water from as many as seven canals that take water from the Arkansas River in Pueblo and Otero counties, but has not filed an application for change of water rights, the opponents contend. Super Ditch officials say the pilot program must come first to work out details of how the full program would operate.

More Arkansas Valley Super Ditch coverage here and here.

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