Division 6 Water Judge Michael A O’Hara III, in a Dec. 23 order, determined that Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District has not provided enough evidence that its current existing water rights won’t meet demands in the categories of municipal, irrigation, domestic, in-reservoir piscatorial, commercial and augmentation for Yellow Jacket Water Conservancy District.
The documents, obtained through a Colorado Open Records Act request, also underscore the extent to which fear of a compact call is shaping this proposed dam and reservoir project between Meeker and Rangely.
They also say the company, which was found to have violated the Clean Water Act for moving the section of Yule Creek without first applying for a permit, should undertake river restoration projects elsewhere in the Crystal River basin as compensatory mitigation for damage the company caused when it moved the waterway to construct a road to better access its marble quarry.
According to the framework, project proponents should get buy-in from local governments in the form of a letter of support from the board of county commissioners in the county in which the project is located.
A geographically expanded program with consistent funding would revolutionize water management in Colorado, according to the grant application.
“While this is bad news for skiers, it also means a challenge for western water managers who count on cloud seeding to increase water supplies by increasing snowfall in the mountainous headwaters of the Colorado River and its tributaries.”
Step II does not include a large-scale pilot program, but it leaves the door open to develop one in the future, potentially in collaboration with other upper-basin states.
The loan will allow Glenwood Springs, which takes most of its municipal water supply from No Name and Grizzly creeks, to reduce the elevated sediment load in the water supply taken from the creeks as a result of the fire.
Representatives from local groups expressed frustration that the permitting process for the creek relocation is happening after the fact, and they said they plan to submit comments to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the agency overseeing the permit application.
“It was the one issue that’s not partisan, that was about uniting a very politically diverse region,” according to River District general manager Andy Mueller.