2022 #COleg: SB22-126 Prioritize #Water Storage Projects South Platte Basin #SouthPlatteRiver

South Platte River Storage Study Area. Illustration shows water availability, in blue circles, compared with demand at various places along the South Platte River. The yellow area is the study area. (Illustration by Stantec).

Click the link to read the article on The Sterling Journal-Advocate (Jeff Rice). Here’s an excerpt:

The [SB22-126 Prioritize Water Storage Projects South Platte Basin: Concerning a requirement that the Colorado water conservation board prioritize water storage in the South Platte river basin in choosing projects to finance with money from the Colorado water conservation board construction fund.], sponsored by Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, would require that water storage in the basin would be prioritized when the CWCB decides what projects to fund.

Joe Frank, manager of the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District based in Sterling, shared the bill with his board of directors during their regular meeting [February 8, 2022]. The board later voted to support the bill.

The bill specifically lists two intended purposes of the prioritization – to “(increase) the beneficial consumptive use of Colorado’s undeveloped waters to which Colorado is entitled under the South Platte River Compact,” and to “reduce reliance on transmountain diversions.”

According to the bill, the CWBC would create a construction fund into which any money appropriated by the General Assembly for water projects would be held. Interest on the investments from the fund would revert back into the fund, and unexpended funds would not be returned to the legislature at the end of the year.

In addition, when allocating money for water storage projects, CWBC would give projects in the South Platte Basin top priority.

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