From The Sterling Journal-Advocate (Jeff Rice):
The Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District’s budget will exceed $1 million for the first time in 2018.
The district’s Board of Directors Executive Committee got its first look at the proposed budget during Tuesday’s meeting.
District manager Joe Frank pointed out that the budget is somewhat inflated by two grants totaling more than $341,000 the district has received, one from the Colorado Water Conservation Board and one by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The CWBC grant will be used to match the USBR grant to help develop a marketing plan for the Northeast Colorado Water Cooperative.
The district also will enjoy about a 4 percent increase in general property tax, mostly from increased valuations on real estate.
Total increase in the budget is about $70,000, or roughly 6.8 percent over this year’s budget, which also contained large water study project grants.
The Bureau of Reclamation grant of $236,245 is one of nine the bureau awarded earlier this month as part of its WaterSMART Water Marketing Strategies program.
LSPWCD will use the funds to help the NECWC find ways to develop infrastructure for water exchanges, primarily when water augmentation plans are involved…
…pumps and pipelines cost money, Frank said, and a lot of it, and that means heavy participation by everyone who needs water. The “water marketing strategy” the NECWC has in mind would try to expand participation with municipalities and industrial water users who are not yet part of the cooperative.
That’s all part of an effort established by the Colorado Water Plan unveiled in November 2015 to address a looming gap in water supplies. Without water development, the gap between supply and demand in the South Platte River Basin is expected to grow to 196,000 acre feet by 2050. That, according to the Bureau of Reclamation’s statement on the grants, “is creating a growing incentive to identify creative solutions, driving up interest in water marketing by multiple types of water users.”