From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
The Arkansas Valley Super Ditch is hoping the third time will be a charm. The group is preparing a proposal to lease up to 500 acre-feet of water (162 million gallons) from the Catlin Canal to Fountain, Security and Fowler under 2013 state legislation, HB1248. Fowler would get about half of the water.
The legislation allows pilot programs that demonstrate the effectiveness of temporary transfers of water by drying up irrigated fields.
The application for the program was accepted by the Colorado Water Conservation Board in September, but the proposal was altered to include Fountain and Security, which had expressed interest in leasing water in 2012, when the Super Ditch program was aborted due to drought.
The 2012 lease failed partly because of a late start and numerous conditions that would have been imposed under a substitute water supply plan.
In 2013, the Super Ditch planned to lease water to Fowler, but the deal fell through when farmers backed out.
A little more than 1,100 acres of Catlin land could be dried up on a rotating basis over 10 years. No parcel could be dried up for more than three of those years.
Water attorney Peter Nichols said he is optimistic that the program can be completed this year if the CWCB approves it at its January meeting.
“This meets the goal of leasing water within the Arkansas River basin,” Nichols said.