The Board of County Commissioners received its annual update on West Slope water issues March 5 when Tom Alvey, the county's representative on the Colorado River Water Conservation District (known as the River District), presented his annual report.
Alvey noted that 2012 will be the 50th anniversary of the Paonia Project.
A commemorative event has been scheduled for Aug. 6, hosted by the North Fork Water Conservancy District and the Fire Mountain Canal and Reservoir Company, Alvey reported.
Other items of local interest on Alvey's report included the following:
• Alvey said, "There is a lot of stuff happening on the (Gunnison) River between the forks and Delta." The popularity of river recreation is encouraging economic development ideas for municipal advocates of growth. More irrigation diversion rebuilding on that stretch of river that will enhance its safe passage for recreational users is in the works. "The (river) corridor will continue to be a big issue for us," Alvey added.
• Several government agencies and other organizations were among those that commented on the BLM's scheduled Aug. 12 gas lease auction in the North Fork Valley. The Bureau of Reclamation, Fire Mountain Canal Company, and North Fork Water Conservancy District all wrote letters to the BLM requesting modifications or limits on the parcels available for leasing in the proposed August oil and gas lease auction, Alvey's report stated.
Alvey's report noted that specifically parcels 6195, 6196, 6206, 6207, 6215, and 6216 "are in close proximity to water facilities operated and owned by the three organizations."
Among the concerns expressed were access, steep grades, erosion potential, possible contamination of water, increased traffic, increased selenium in runoff, and source water protection issues.
Alvey also noted the North Delta Irrigation Company's collapsed tunnel restoration and the Lone Cabin Reservoir where a dam slump has affected the reservoir capacity. Both companies have funding requests in to the River District.
• Alvey explained that the River District is fighting for a rational regulation scheme by the Colorado Water Quality Control Division on "numeric standards for allowable levels of nutrients in surface water." At issue are levels of both phosphate and nitrogen levels.
"The River District is trying to minimize the damage (to agriculture and water utilities) from these standards by insisting they are based on sound science and that they recognize the high cost of compliance," Alvey's reported stated
• In a review of several state and regional issues, Alvey explained that the River District is advocating for West Slope water rights where trans-basin and trans-mountain diversions are involved, and where the multi-state Colorado River Compact comes into play.blog comments powered by Disqus