From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
The Arkansas Basin Roundtable is backing a $300,000 study to develop a way to sort out complexities of water projects.
The roundtable is applying for grants from the Colorado Water Conservation Board to fund a thorough analysis of water use.
“The reason it’s needed is that everyone does planning for an average year, but everyone has to deal with wet years and dry years,” said Jim Broderick, executive director of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District.
The most extreme case in point were the 2011 and 2012 water years. In 2011, the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project brought over record amounts of water, and the next year yielded one of the lowest amounts ever.
“We need an accounting tool that tells us how much water is available through native or imported sources, how much is in storage and how much can be exchanged,” Broderick said. The plan continues the roundtable’s regional planning efforts that try to incorporate multiple uses into projects.
For instance, the timing of how water is moved for irrigation or municipal purposes can improve flows for rafting and fishing, as demonstrated by the Upper Arkansas River flow program started in 1990.
The study would look at data back to 1982 and develop a report about how water was diverted as supplies varied from year to year. That would provide data for a water supply model that could be posted online to assist water users in planning, based on hydrologic conditions.
“Eventually, it serves an educational purpose as well,” Broderick said.
More Arkansas River Basin coverage here.