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Water News Archive for 2018

"Study: Colorado is Sending Water Downstream and Out of State Beyond Its Legal Obligations"— January 9, 2018
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Colorado is sending much more water down the South Platte River to other states than it’s legally required to do. That’s according to a report by two engineering firms completed last month.

The engineers concluded that, in the 20 years prior to 2015, a median of almost 300,000 acre feet of water per year was delivered to Nebraska in excess of legal obligations under the South Platte Compact.

That’s a lot of water, hundreds of millions of gallons, which could be stored and put to use in Colorado, according to the report.

The report was presented at the South Platte Roundtable a group primarily made up of water managers and government officials, and it raised the question of where the best place would be to store the excess water.

The answer to that question is politically charged with concerns about how a new storage project could flood existing farm land and homes, as well as cause harm to endangered species and pose other environmental issues.

But the report, which was ordered by the state legislature, does make conclusions about places to store the excess water, including new and existing reservoirs, and even in underground aquifers.

A future storage project which got one of the highest scores in the report was the Narrows Valley dam which would be along the South Platte near Fort Morgan. But that site was shot down decades ago by President Jimmy Carter and would probably not gain any support now.

So the question of how and where to store the excess water that currently flows into Nebraska—but could be put to beneficial use in Colorado—was left on the table and will be the subject of much discussion around the state in coming months.

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