This system, used widely in the western United States, creates an opening for investors who see water as an increasingly valuable commodity in a water-short future, driven by climate change.
It’s still unclear whether or when the dam will need to be rehabilitated; that’s what adding more monitoring instruments may help the district figure out.
The reservoir release also could have implications for a potential demand-management program, the feasibility of which the state is currently investigating.
Pitkin County’s goal was to get more water into the habitually stressed reach of the Roaring Fork that flows through Aspen during the summer and fall.
According to NRCS models, streamflow for the Roaring Fork River, measured at its confluence with the Colorado River in Glenwood Springs, will be 70% of average.
Barr and proponents of the project say that with climate change increasing temperatures, which in turn increases the amount of water crops need, the future of growing food is indoors.
The approval allows Aurora and Colorado Springs, operating together as Homestake Partners, to drill 10 bore samples up to 150 feet deep and for crews on the ground to collect geophysical data.
Now that the Castle and Maroon valleys are out of the question, part of the IRP process is figuring out where the city should store the water granted by those conditional water rights.
In the Yampa River valley, this designation would primarily impact new residential wells located on lots less than 35 acres and wells used for purposes other than domestic uses.
Consultants also are working on finding a location to which to move Aspen’s conditional water-storage rights and determining whether the city needs storage at all.