U.S. Water News Online
PUEBLO, Colo. -- An agreement between a water district and
Aurora could help clear the way for the city to acquire most of the
rights to a southeastern Colorado water company.
Aurora's plan to acquire most of the shares of the Rocky Ford
Ditch company is pending in court. A vote by the Southeastern
Colorado Water Conservancy District to approve an agreement with
Aurora is expected to lead to a settlement in the case.
The agreement would allow Aurora to store the Rocky Ford water in
the Fryingpan-Arkansas reservoir. The city would pay the district
about $25 million over the next 40 years and agree not to buy any
more water rights in the Arkansas River Valley.
The Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District and Aurora and
Pueblo city officials must also approve the agreement.
The Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District defeated a
similar agreement last year because members didn't want more water
leaving the Arkansas River basin. Aurora then threatened to oppose
federal legislation for the $725 million expansion of the
Fryingpan-Arkansas reservoir near Aspen.
Bill Long of Las Animas, a district board member who led the
charge against Aurora last year, voted for the new agreement.
``Any time water goes out of the valley it's not good,'' Long
said. ``But I believe if we don't settle and the case goes to trial,
Aurora will still get the water and we won't get the money or the
restrictions. I feel we got the best agreement we could.''
Board member Harold Miskel, a longtime proponent of the Aurora
agreement, said it will save money in the district's legal budget.
The lawsuits challenging Aurora's water plans, filed by several
parties, likely will be dropped.
The Denver suburb bought 60 percent of the Rocky Ford Ditch shares
from area farmers in 1986 and contracted two years ago to buy most of
the remaining shares. A trial has been pending on transfer of the
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