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Colorado augmentation project begins pumping PDF Print E-mail

By Russ Pankonin

The Imperial Republican

With the go-ahead from Kansas, Colorado began pumping water from their northeast Colorado augmentation project.

The Compact Compliance Pipeline (CCP) started delivering water to the North Fork of the Republican River on Friday, Jan. 17, according to Deb Daniel, manager of the Republican River Water Conservation District (RRWCD) in Wray, Colo.

Daniel said the CCP is scheduled to deliver approximately 4,000 acre feet of water prior to April 1. This should put Colorado in compliance with the 2003 Republican River Compact Settlement with Kansas.

In late summer 2014, Colorado will calculate if the state will be in compliance depending on weather conditions and the amount of water that is pumped in the basin during the summer months.

If additional water is required, the pipeline will deliver the necessary acre feet to be in compliance with the compact, prior to the end of 2014, Daniel said.

Nebraska, Colorado sued

In the late 1990s, Kansas sued both Nebraska and Colorado over water use in the Republican River Basin. They claimed the two states overused water in the Republican River Basin, depleting stream flows from the river into Kansas.

The three states reached a settlement in 2003. However, Kansas has continued to raise compliance issues against the two states, resulting in constant litigation since around 2007.

RRWCD purchased land and groundwater wells, planning to convert the pumping to stream flow augmentation.

However, Kansas would not approve the CCP, leading the two states to arbitration.

In a ruling last November, the arbiter said Kansas did not show cause why the project should not be approved.

On the heels of the ruling, Kansas and Colorado worked out an agreement to allow Colorado to operate the CPP for 2014. Kansas also agreed to give Colorado 100 percent credit for the water added on the Colorado side to the North Fork of the Republican River.

The two states continue to negotiate the permanent approval of the pipeline.

15,000 acre feet capacity

Daniel said the current well field, which consists of eight wells, has an annual capacity of around 15,000 acre feet.

She said they plan to add seven more in the future.

RRWCD purchased the water rights to 58 irrigation wells in eastern Yuma County. The appropriations from these wells were transferred to the new well field, she said.

Water delivered by the pipeline is measured in the channel just prior to the water flowing into the river.

The water passes through an open concrete flume equipped with a measuring device to calculate the amount of water delivered to the river.

Each of the wells are also equipped with flow meters to measure the amount pumped.

RRWCD can pump no more from the well field than the historic consumptive use of the 58 wells.

 

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