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From The Lincoln Journal-Star (Don Walton) via The Scottsbluff Star-Herald:
Tom Riley, director of the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, spoke in support of a comprehensive pandemic recovery bill (LB1014) that would begin to funnel $500 million of federal pandemic funding into construction of a canal and reservoir system to secure Nebraska’s share of the water.
Colorado is “spending 20 times what we’re asking” on water projects and may “look to be potentially accelerating construction now” in reaction to Gov. Pete Ricketts’ proposal to build a Perkins County canal along with reservoirs, Riley said.
From KUNC (Alex Hager):
As Colorado and other interested parties wait for details, at least one expert questioned the very feasibility of Nebraska’s proposal. Jim Yahn is the former Colorado Water Conservation Board director for the South Platte basin, and currently manages the North Sterling and Pruitt reservoirs in northeastern Colorado.
“It felt more like a shot across the bow,” Yahn said. “But I was trying to understand why they would do a shot across the bow. (Ricketts) made a couple of comments in his announcement, that I was wondering whether he fully understood the river in our area.”
Yahn took issue with the claim that Colorado could take 90% of the water headed for Nebraska.
“We can’t capture that,” he said. “There’s just no way.”
Yahn, who has managed water in the area for more than three decades, said diverting the proposed amount of water could present a formidable set of logistical hurdles, and Nebraska might find that “even though they have the right to 500 cubic feet per second from October 15th to April 1st, that water is not there under the 1921 water right that they had.”
New building permits are on hold in the fast-growing town of Severance, after the North Weld County Water District imposed a moratorium on new water taps. The district, which is the only provider of treated water for Severance, cited uncertainties over construction delays for a small pipeline project. The moratorium is also affecting other nearby communities in Northern Colorado, including Eaton.
From The Greeley Tribune (Christopher Wood |):
Severance — with a population approaching 8,000 and representing the fastest-growing community in Northern Colorado — includes two water service areas, one administered by the town and the other by North Weld. Wharton said that when the town had to impose its moratorium, 37 building permits that were in process had to be halted, with another 110 permits in the town’s service area subsequently affected.
But that’s only the beginning of the impact on the town’s building activity. Wharton said that in North Weld’s service area within the town, “There are hundreds of additional permits that need to be pulled that they’re holding up because they won’t give their water.”
The moratorium has affected both national and local home builders, Wharton said, including D.R. Horton, Richmond American Homes, Richfield Homes and Horizon View Homes…
1041 regulations blamed
The North Weld County Water District serves Ault, Eaton, Galeton, Gill, Lucerne, Nunn and Pierce, along with portions of Fort Collins, Greeley, Timnath and Windsor.
At issue — at least in part — for the district are so-called 1041 regulations — named for Colorado House Bill 1041, passed in 1974 — which allow local governments to exercise greater control over certain land-use projects, such as water pipelines.
Fort Collins initiated a process to write 1041 regulations, in part to exercise greater control over Northern Water’s planned $1.1 billion Northern Integrated Supply Project, known as NISP, and the city late last fall considered a moratorium on new projects while the new 1041 regulations are written.
But city staff found that another, smaller pipeline project also would be affected, a water-transmission pipeline — known as the NEWT 3 Pipeline — being constructed by the North Weld County Water District and the East Larimer County Water District.
The pipeline would run 5.3 miles from North Timberline Road in Fort Collins east into Larimer County.
District representatives and Fries spoke at an Oct. 19, 2021, Fort Collins City Council meeting, requesting that NEWT 3 be exempted from the moratorium, and the Fort Collins council agreed.
But North Weld subsequently announced that it would extend its tap moratorium until Dec. 13, 2021, citing continued uncertainty surrounding the 1041 process in Larimer County, which imposed a nine-month moratorium on all 1041 permit applications while it worked to update those regulations.
Larimer County’s moratorium was extended until Feb. 15, and North Weld in December extended its moratorium on new taps until May 31.