U.S. Water News Online
CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- An entrepreneur pushing to develop a
pipeline to carry water from the Green River to Colorado's
fast-growing Front Range says the project could benefit Wyoming.
Aaron Million wants to develop a 400-mile pipeline to carry water
from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir on the Green River. He proposes
building it along the Interstate 80 corridor with construction
starting in about two years.
Addressing the Wyoming Water Association's annual meeting in
Cheyenne, Million said the pipeline could also bring water to cities
and towns in southeastern Wyoming.
"The state line does not excuse Wyoming from some of the things
that are going on in Colorado," Million said.
He said the demand for water on the Front Range is close to the
limit of supply. The options are growing scarce and expensive while
water-quality concerns are increasing, he said.
"The good, clean water from the high mountain areas has been fully
developed, and the aquifers are being mined out," Million said.
Building the pipeline would allow Colorado to access its share of
water under the Colorado River Compact. The compact is a 1920s-era
agreement among western states on how to share water.
Million says his proposal is now undergoing environmental review.
Harry C. LaBonde, deputy Wyoming state engineer, said state water
officials have met with Million's representatives about the
possibility of diverting water from the Green River in Wyoming.
"There have not been any kind of detailed conversations about
water use, or the use of this water in Wyoming," LaBonde said. "That
does change the whole permitting process."
"Our conversations with Mr. Million's representatives have been
conceptual," he said. "As long as the water diversion does not affect
Wyoming's ability to use its allocation under the Colorado River
compact, then we don't see a large issue in Wyoming."
Based on the state's discussions with Colorado water
representatives, Wyoming officials believe that Colorado does have
undeveloped water rights available under the river agreement, LaBonde
The Bureau of Reclamation, which oversees Flaming Gorge Reservoir,
recently prepared a study to determine how much water would be
available for such a project.
Jeff Fassett of HDR Engineering Corp. said the bureau's study
determined that after accounting for Wyoming's full share of Colorado
River Basin water, and the water required to sustain downstream
endangered fish recovery projects, the pipeline could still take
about 165,000 acre-feet of water per year.
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