From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
A vote among shareholders of the Arkansas Groundwater Users Association on whether to approve the sale of its Excelsior Ditch shares has been postponed.
Two Rivers Water and Farming Co. wants to purchase the Excelsior shares for $3.5 million, making the water and use of the ditch available to AGUA. Two Rivers plans to build reservoirs on the Southwest Farms site and lease space to cities in exchange for water to apply to fields it owns on Bessemer Ditch. It needs the ditch to ensure the water can reach the reservoirs.
AGUA owns about 53 percent of the ditch. The remainder of shares belong to Stonewall Springs LLC. At shareholder meetings this week, AGUA members were uncomfortable with the details of a contract approved by its board in May. Two Rivers also requested more time to work out some of the missing pieces. So, a shareholder meeting to approve or reject the contract scheduled for Tuesday has been cancelled.
“It could be up to four months until all the details are worked out,” said Scott Lorenz, AGUA manager. “We’re going to take it slowly.” Under the agreement, Two Rivers planned to lease water from the ditch back to AGUA shareholders at $1 per year over a 10-year period, give the ditch group 10 percent of storage space up to 2,500 acre-feet, provide a portion of “toll” water to AGUA and allow AGUA to use the ditch for its recharge ponds. Two Rivers also would pay $3.5 million, paying off a state loan of $1.5 million that AGUA obtained when it purchased the ditch.
AGUA provides augmentation for well water for about 250 farms on the Arkansas River and Fountain Creek.
Two Rivers has purchased farm ground and other reservoir sites in Huerfano and Pueblo counties, with the goal of raising high-dollar vegetable crops.