Colorado-Big Thompson shares commanding a steep price as farmers deal with shortages and oil and gas demand #COdrought


From the Northern Colorado Business Report (Steve Lynn):

The Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, which operates the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, doesn’t officially track water prices, but spokesman Brian Werner said water sales this year are registering at as much as $17,000 per share, or more than $28,300 per acre foot. Three years ago, prices were about $7,000 an acre foot. At Water Colorado in Fort Collins, a water brokerage, one client wants to sell 150 C-BT shares for $20,000 apiece, water broker Hannah Kleinhans said. The last C-BT transaction at Water Colorado involved shares sold for almost $16,000 recently…

Still another measure of water prices is how much cities charge developers. Greeley, for instance, requires developers to pay cash for water if developers can’t provide their own can’t provide their own supplies. This year, according to Greeley Water and Sewer Director Jon Monson, the city is charging $16,800 an acre foot, up from $9,300 in May 2010, an 81 percent increase…

In addition to high sale prices, Northern Water has seen rental prices of $400 per acre foot this year, said Dennis Miller, Northern Water operations manager. Rental prices still remain below the $650 per acre foot charged in 2003, another drought period.

Water experts say producers’ demand for water for oil and natural-gas drilling has led to higher rental and sale prices. “Those are the only people that can afford to pay that,” Miller said. “That’s what they’re willing to pay for it so that it doesn’t go to somebody else.”

Tom Cech, director of Metropolitan State University’s One World One Water Institute and former manager of Greeley’s Central Colorado Water Conservancy District, concurs with Miller’s view. “I think it’s going to be a challenge for many years, because the oil and gas industry is going to be placing demands on local water supplies for quite a while as they continue drilling and fracking,” he said. “So that will keep the price high for rental water.”

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