U.S. Water News Online
DENVER -- In what both sides of the Continental Divide hope
will be a historic settlement to their water disputes, an agreement
to share water resources has been reached.
The settlement comes in the midst of a large mediation effort
between several water agencies aimed at solving a number of complex
issues affecting the future of water in Colorado.
Demands for water will increase as more and more people move into
the state, and energy companies require water for development.
"We hope this is the first step in what will be a much broader
agreement among West Slope partners and the Front Range to address
environmental, recreational and water supply needs on both sides of
the Continental Divide," said Eric Kuhn, General Manager of the
Colorado River District.
"This favorable outcome is representative of the value of our
mediation efforts and sets the stage for more collaboration around
water issues statewide," said Dave Little, Denver Water's Director of
Denver Water, the state's biggest supplier, the Upper Eagle
Regional Water Authority, Eagle River Water and Sanitation District,
the Colorado River Water Conservation District, and the Northern
Colorado Water Conservancy District and its Municipal Subdistrict
signed the agreement.
Denver Water has agreed to transfer some of its Eagle Basin Water
rights to the Colorado River Water Conservation District. In
response, the river district will retire some of its rights and join
with Eagle County water groups to help make possible a proposed
multiple water use project near Wolcott.
The settlement avoids the need for the disputes to go to the Water
Court, required periodically when rights are not being used.
The Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority and the Eagle River Water
and Sanitation District have long opposed Denver Water's rights and
challenged continuation of the rights in court on several grounds.
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