From The Yuma Pioneer (Tony Rayl):
The Republican River Compact Administration signed off on a resolution presented by Colorado last week during the three-state entities’ annual meeting.
The resolution lays out the final steps Colorado has to take for compliance with the Final Settlement Stipulation and Republican River Compact, between it, Nebraska and Kansas.
If Colorado meets the requirements laid out in the resolution, it will be protected from any further lawsuit filings in the matter by Kansas or Nebraska.
“It basically means Kansas can’t come after us again and again,” Colorado State Engineer Dick Wolfe said. “It doesn’t prevent them from raising some other issue we haven’t thought of yet.”
He added the states have agreed to try to work out future issues among themselves instead of immediately going to the costly and time-consuming non-binding arbitration process.
“This is not nearly as restrictive as some people fear,” Deb Daniel, general manager of the Republican River Water Conservation District, said of the resolution.
A final agreement on the use of Colorado’s compact compliance pipeline, as well as the voluntary retiring of more acreage along the South Fork of the Republican River, are the key components in the resolution. Colorado already has removed 23,838 acres from irrigation in the South Fork Republican River Basin, through voluntary retirement programs such as the federally-funded CREP.
The resolution, presented last week in Burlington by Wolfe, and signed by him and Kansas’ David Barfield and Nebraska’s Gordon W. Fassett, calls for Colorado to utilize voluntary programs to retire up to an additional 25,000 acres from irrigation in the South Fork Republican River basin.
The resolution states Colorado will retire at least 10,000 acres by 2022, and the remaining 15,000 acres by December 31, 2027. It also includes language allowing Colorado to submit to the other states for their approval a plan to reduce consumption within Colorado by other means if the state cannot or will not retire 25,000 acres by the 2027 deadline.
“It gave us and the users the most flexibility going into the future,” Wolfe said.
Daniel noted the agreement does not make any mention of stream flows or how much acre feet of water must be removed from consumptive use, only acreage.