Legislative Update - Summer 2017
While the State Legislature is out of session, small committees meet to discuss specific issues like transportation, school finance, wildfire matters, and water resources. Last week, the Water Resources Review Committee met at the State Capitol. The committee of 10 state legislators reviews water issues and proposes legislation related to the conservation, use, development ,and financing of Colorado’s water issues. The Committee meets at the capitol and around the state, consulting experts in the field and listening to the public on Colorado’s water issues. The Committee may choose to recommend the introduction of legislature based on the information they hear.
You can find a full agenda of the topics discussed here, but there are certain issues pertinent to irrigated agriculture.
State Engineer Rules on historical Consumptive Use Pursuant to House Bill 17-1289
This bill calls for the state engineer to put into effect rules that create a streamlined approach to calculate historical consumptive use of a water right as an alternative to the time and cost of water court. State Engineer Kevin Rein discussed the benefits of such a policy.
Update on Arkansas River Management Issues
Jack Goble of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District discussed John Martin Reservoir, a recent agreement between Colorado and Kansas on a new source of water for the "Permanent Pool," and described a proposed Colorado Water Users Account.
Update on South Platte Basin High Groundwater Level
There was an update on the high ground water levels along the South Platte in Weld County. This included the costs and review of dewatering projects in the Gilcrest area.
Regulation of Ground Water Storage
A recent bill signed into law called for the state engineer to create rules for aquifer storage recovery in designated ground water basins. State Engineer Kevin Rein discussed the basics of ground water storage and how it can be used to hold or convey water.
Previous State Funded ASR (Aquifer Storage Recovery) Studies
With rules being promulgated for storing water in designated groundwater basins, there was a previous of previous studies on the storage potential of various aquifers. The studies include a statewide assessment by the Colorado Geological Survey, a look into the South Platte and Arkansas River Basins by the Colorado Water Conservation Board, and in depth looks into the Upper Black Squirrel Creek and Lost Creek Designated Basins.