From email from the Colorado Water Trust:
Request for Water is a water leasing program that benefits both water users and the environment. A 2003 Colorado state statute enables CWT in collaboration with the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) to lease water for streams on short notice to protect the environment. This tool for rewatering streams under Colorado’s Instream Flow Program has been available since 2003, but CWT was the first to use the statute to add water to streams during drought conditions in 2012. CWT intends to lease water for environmental benefits again this year; the March 1st snow report indicates that snowpack is again below average. Many rivers and streams may see shortages for a second year in a row and for some in Colorado, the dry spell has been much longer. Request for Water also addresses the financial needs of Colorado’s water users by compensating owners for the temporary use of their water rights. We are excited to offer water users the opportunity to both protect Colorado’s natural heritage and generate revenue—lease your water for instream flow use, receive compensation, and grow a crop of fish habitat.
From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
The Colorado Water Trust is seeking water rights for short-term lease for environmental benefits during what many expect to be a drought year.
In 2012, the trust piloted a water leasing program in partnership with the Colorado Water Conservation Board along with other state and federal agencies to negotiate four unprecedented short-term water leases under a 2003 Colorado state statute. There were 94 offers of water rights, which were narrowed down to 13 after an engineering review. Water from six rights were packaged into four leases that provided flows in 190 miles of streams.
“When we launched the Request for Water 2012 pilot program, asking water users to lease water in a way that had never been tried, we didn’t know exactly what to expect,” said Amy Beatie, executive director of the Colorado Water Trust. “We’re starting earlier this year.”
“The CWCB is looking forward to partnering on short-term leases with the trust and water users this year,” said Linda Bassi, chief of the CWCB’s stream and lake protection section. “The leased water provides significant benefits to Colorado’s streams and the public.”
The water trust is working with basin roundtables, water districts, land trusts, and other entities and organizations to schedule presentations about the program.
More instream flow coverage here.