Arkansas Basin Roundtable approves grant application for Fountain Creek flood control alternatives

Fountain Creek erosion via The Pueblo Chieftain
Fountain Creek erosion via The Pueblo Chieftain

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Flood control alternatives for Fountain Creek would be studied under a grant approved this week by the Arkansas Basin Roundtable.

“It will look at storage alternatives and determine a preferred alternative for future needs,” said Larry Small, executive director of the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District.

The district is seeking $93,000 in Water Supply Reserve Account grants through the Colorado Water Conservation Board. The board will vote on the application in September. The district will add $40,000 in local funds to the study.

The U.S. Geological Survey completed a study in December 2013 of 13 alternatives that would reduce the impact of a major flood on Pueblo, determining either a dam or series of detention ponds along Fountain Creek between Pueblo and Colorado Springs would be the best solution.

Last year, it completed a study that showed agricultural water rights downstream could be met through augmentation. Fountain Creek is the only drainage in the state not covered by a 72-hour store-andrelease law (SB212) passed last year by the state Legislature, Small explained.

Small assured some roundtable members that the protection of ag water rights would remain prominent, saying farmers have been invited to participate in past studies.

“We would keep the dialog open through the entire flood control study,” Small said.

Among the factors to be considered are the cost of projects and their ability to contain floods of four different magnitudes: 10-, 50-, 100- and 500-year floods.

The study also will evaluate where flood control structures should be located, what sort of property would need to be acquired and which permits are needed. It would evaluate the costs and benefits as well.
There would also be the opportunity to see if other storage needs, as identified in Colorado’s Water Plan and the basin implementation plan, could be filled. Those include municipal, agricultural and wildlife habitat purposes.

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