CWCB approves transmountain diversion framework #COWaterPlan #ColoradoRiver

Conceptual vision of potential transmountain diversions from the South Platte Roundtable Basin Implementation Plan
Conceptual vision of potential transmountain diversions from the South Platte Roundtable Basin Implementation Plan

From The Pine River Times (Carole McWilliams) via The Durango Herald:

The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) is drafting the plan. Meeting at the casino Wednesday, the board voted unanimously to include the conceptual framework in the water plan. The board was scheduled to continue meeting Thursday.

CWCB member John Stulp called the conceptual framework “a guidance document for future negotiations.” The guidance notes that future TMDs will avoid increasing the risk of a compact deficit, the amount of water Upper Colorado River Basin states are obligated to deliver to Lower Basin states as measured at Lee’s Ferry in the Grand Canyon. Declaration of a compact deficit could have serious impacts to Western Slope water users.

Board member John McClow added, “On the West Slope, TMD is the number one issue in the water plan. I think this framework addresses that very well. It’s a concern on the Front Range, as well.”

Several CWCB members and other speakers said the conceptual framework and the state plan is a big step forward.

Durango water engineer Steve Harris agreed, but he objected that the plan doesn’t include a cost versus water-yield comparison of TMDs with alternative water sources.

“We think it’s very important that (it) be included,” he said. “I understand it’s not included, and it should be.”

Southwest Water Conservation District Director Bruce Whitehead called the framework “an elegant balance that was achieved. If it strays too far in any direction, we may lose that delicate balance.”

The water plan includes Basin Implementation Plans created by nine water basin roundtables around the state. Whitehead said the Southwest Basin Roundtable “supports first the development of resources (such as storage projects) in the basins that have the biggest supply gaps.”

He agreed with Harris that alternative supplies versus TMDs should be considered in the state water plan, not just in the Southwest Basin Implementation Plan.

More Colorado Water Plan coverage here.

Seven-point draft conceptual agreement framework for negotiations on a future transmountain diversion screen shot December 18, 2014 via Aspen Journalism
Seven-point draft conceptual agreement framework for negotiations on a future transmountain diversion screen shot December 18, 2014 via Aspen Journalism

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