Storing water specifically until an emergency occurs is not a decreed beneficial use under Colorado water law. But municipal water providers often have a lot of leeway to plan for future needs, which could include storage projects.
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.
Aspen is now studying how much water from Castle and Maroon creeks it wants to store, and where it wants to store it.
With a final decree entered in Maroon Creek case, Aspen maintains its water rights, but is committed to moving them.
Environmental groups claim victory, but a water court judge still needs to bless the deal.
A water court referee has set deadlines in the City of Aspen’s settlements with 10 parties over its water rights on Maroon and Castle creeks.
The city has signed agreements with five of the 10 opposing parties in the two cases, including Pitkin County and Wilderness Workshop.
The city now owns a large and vacant parcel of land in Woody Creek to be used for potential reservoirs filled with water rights now tied to potential dams and reservoirs on upper Maroon and Castle creeks.
City cites a need for 8,500 acre-feet to meet future needs in the face of climate change.
The city of Aspen is buying land for potential reservoirs ranging from 1,000 acre-feet to 8,000 acre-feet.