2019 @COWaterCongress Annual Summer Conference #cwcsc2019

Click here to view the Twitter fest around hash tag #cwcsc2019. I had a great time reading everyone’s Tweets. It is interesting to see what each person takes away from a session and what they feel is important to point out.

Pictured: Jackie Brown, Nancy Smith, Kevin McBride, Mickey O’Hara, Kelly Romero-Heaney, Mike Camblin, Jojo La, Hunter Causey. (Not in order.)

Here’s the link to Attorney General Phil Weiser’s remarks to the conference.

The legislature’s Interim Water Resources Committee met after the conference. Here’s a report from Marianne Goodland that’s running in The Colorado Springs Gazette. Here’s an excerpt:

The Colorado Legislature’s interim water resources review committee, a bipartisan group of 10 lawmakers, began its summer work by relaunching efforts to change the state’s instream flow program.

During the 2019 session, the committee sponsored two bills that would have made some fairly big changes to the state’s instream flow (program, though neither bill made it out of Senate committee…

Instream flow is the water that flows through a stream, river or creek. Programs that manage instream flows do so to protect fish habitats and for recreational purposes.

Colorado’s instream flow program, according to Colorado Water Conservation Board’s Linda Bassi, is intended to “preserve the natural environment to a reasonable degree.”

As the years have gone on, the board has also received permission to improve instream flows within the program.

Bassi explained to the interim water committee at Wednesday’s session, held during the Colorado Water Congress summer conference in Steamboat Springs, that the program was established in 1973 to allow state control over Colorado water and under Colorado’s water rights and prior appropriation system.

The original legislation was also intended to block ballot measures (one was already in the works) that would have allowed for private instream flow programs.

Over the years, the Colorado Water Conservation Board has acquired water rights, often donated, to protect streams, now to the tune of 756 stream miles, Bassi explained, and for 1,700 stream segments around the state.

Some of those water rights are new ones, others are existing and donated, although that doesn’t happen very often, she added.

One of the program’s provisions allows for for temporary water “loans” for three years out of a 10-year period; they can be used on any segment of a stream decreed as part of the instream flow program.

It’s a one-and-done situation; once the three years are up, that water cannot be diverted into the stream by the water provider, nor can the contract be renewed.

Bassi told lawmakers only eight temporary leases have been developed since 2012.

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