Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District’s board of directors unenthusiastic about proposed water investment bill — The #Sterling Journal-Advocate #SouthPlatteRiver

A group called the South Platte Regional Opportunities Working Group, or SPROWG, is proposing to store 175,000 acre-feet of water in a series of reservoirs on the South Platte River, from north of Denver to the Morgan County line. The project also includes a long pipeline to pump water from the river back to the metro area to be cleaned and re-used. Graphic credit: CWCB via Aspen Journalism

From The Sterling Journal-Advocate (Jeff Rice):

“I get pulled in both directions in my mind; I don’t want water speculators coming in and buying up land,” said board Vice President Gene Manuello. “But at the end of the day, it is a private property right. I don’t see legislature stepping into that. I don’t think we need this bill.”

[…]

The bill comes with a long list of concerns and unintended consequences. Among those voiced most often by LSPWCD board members Tuesday was governmental interference in what has traditionally and legally been a private property transaction. A summary of the bill, prepared by attorneys associated with the Water Rights Association of the South Platte, says it would present an unreasonable restraint on the transfer of real property; require the director of the state’s Natural Resources Department to determine the intent of people buying land with attached water rights; and asks purchasers to hope the value of the water rights doesn’t increase.

LSPWCD Director Joe Frank served on the working group that reported back to the DNR in August and said a misunderstanding about water speculation may have driven the process.

“There’s this view out there that investment speculation is driving up the price of water, but I don’t think that the issue,” Frank said. “It’s basic supply and demand; we have an increasing population and a finite supply of water, and that’s what’s driving up the cost of water.”

Manuello pointed out that the real solution, in his mind, is increased storage, a concept that has been unpopular until recently.

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