Pueblo: The 16th annual Ditch and Reservoir Company Alliance, February 21, 22, and 23

Credit: Cattleman’s Ditches Pipeline Project II Montrose County, Colorado EIS via USBR.

From the Ditch and Reservoir Alliance via The Julesburg Advocate:

The 16th annual Ditch and Reservoir Company Alliance will offer a spectrum of informed presentations about agricultural water uses and issues Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, February 21, 22, and 23, 2018 at the Pueblo Convention Center, 320 N. Main St., in Pueblo, CO.

Themed “Your Water, My Water, and Who Has the Rights” the conference features keynote speakers, expert panels and informal discussions in an open, collaborative setting that encourages learning about all aspects of agricultural water.

On Wednesday, February 21 st , DARCA offers a bus tour focused on innovative solutions for agricultural sustainability. The Farming and Water Resources in the Arkansas River Valley Tour will hear from speakers and visit operations focused on irrigation efficiency, soil health, alternative transfer methods, the Super Ditch, infrastructure improvements, water quality and more.

Kevin Rein, Division Engineer with the Colorado Department of Water Resources will begin the conference with Thursday’s keynote address, while retired Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory Hobbs will deliver the Friday keynote.

Rein will address the conference’s theme by providing an overview of the State’s administration of the many different types of water rights and their uses. Justice Hobbs will present his version of the history of Colorado water and law.

Following the Thursday keynote, a seasoned panel of attorneys will discuss water rights and uses within a decree. Discussion points will be how to resolve disputes between shareholders, transferring shares, transferring rights, expansion of uses, easements, urban encroachment, and return flow impacts to ditches and what to do about it.

Doug Kemper, Executive Director, Colorado Water Congress will explain current legislative efforts with a focus on impacts to agricultural water.
Outgoing State Climatologist, Nolan Doesken and incoming State Climatologist, Russ Schumacher will tag team a report on climatic conditions throughout the state.

Greg Felt, water conservancy district board member and Chaffee County Commissioner, will be the luncheon speaker. Felt will address an overview of the different types of water uses as understood by Colorado water professionals, e.g., augmentation water, native water, trans-mountain water and so on.

Concurrent sessions will begin Thursday afternoon. A session on efforts to address invasive species, urban encroachment and chemical use and the impacts to water quality and infrastructure. A concurrent session will feature agricultural projects that embody sustainability and beneficial water use.

The next afternoon sessions will focus on a Rio Grande basin study that suggest that self-imposed well-pumping fees played an important role in offering incentive for farmers to slash water use and a session on how the use of drones in agricultural applications is the way of the future.

Friday’s morning will open with a look at the history and the future of the Colorado Big Thompson and the Fryingpan-Arkansas projects.

Concurrent sessions on Friday will explain how a Lease-Fallowing Water Accounting Tool currently being used in the Arkansas Basin may have applicability for use in other basins. A second session will address whether “Don’t fix it until it’s broken” is a good infrastructure management practice or if it can end up costing a lot more in the long run.

Following will be a session on a marijuana grower’s perspective on acquiring water and how those water rights are administered by the State. The parallel session will cover financial resources provided through Colorado’s Water Plan that are available to fund reservoir and canal improvements, to develop or improve water storage and to improve efficiencies.

The Ditch and Reservoir Company Alliance has established itself as the definitive resource for networking, information exchange, and advocacy among ditch and reservoir companies, irrigation districts, laterals, and private ditches. With an expected attendance of 120 people representing various agricultural water users throughout the state. The conference offers an educational opportunity ripe with knowledge and diverse perspectives.
Sponsorships are welcome and include free registration and an exhibit space in the busy exhibitor hall.

Visit http://www.DARCA.org for more information.

For more information:
Jean Van Pelt, DARCA Conference Manager – darcaconference@gmail.com 719-251- 2845
Mannie Colon, DARCA Board Member – m.colon@colonorchards.com 719-240- 6359

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