The emphasis is mine!
Deputy General Manager Dan
Birch said work continues on study-
ing a water bank that would help
forestall or meet a curtailment under
the Colorado River Compact. Phase
I of the study can be found on the
Colorado River District
Phase I investigates various cur-
tailment scenarios and estimates of
pre-1922 water rights that might be
suitable for the bank. It also esti-
mates the post-1922 uses that might
be covered by the bank. The year
1922 is critical as that is the year the
Colorado River Compact was signed.
HOLLY: The compact does not affect water in use before 1922.
Much of the pre-1922 use is in
agriculture. Initial thoughts were that
the fallowing of row crops such as
corn would supply the bank. But the
study has already indicated that only
75,000 acre feet of consumptive use
could be gained in this category, not
enough to make the bank effective.
“So realistically, that is not a very
viable alternative for us,” Birch said.
“On the other hand, there is 800,000
acre feet of consumptive use in hay,
alfalfa and pasture grass.”
These perennial crops cannot be
fallowed without destroying the plant
life and bringing about a four-to-five
year recovery period. Ranchers
learned this during the 2002 drought,
according to Board Member Bill
Birch said this predicament
raises the issue of whether deficit
irrigation can achieve consumptive
savings for the bank while allowing
the plant life to survive. Another chal-
lenge is developing ways to measure
the water savings.
Trampe noted that some ranch-
ers own a portfolio of water rights
that include both pre- and post-1922
rights. He said that if most of their
rights are post-1922 and are cur-
tailed, the water they have that is pre
-1922 won’t be enough to be effec-
tive. He said people in this category
might participate 100 percent in the
water bank if they can be compen-
Partners in the water bank study
will determine how to move it for-
ward. Partners include the South-
west Water Conservation District, the
Colorado Water Conservation Board,
The Nature Conservancy and the
Front Range Water Council.
This article and all past articles were removed from the Colorado River District website after I posted it here. There own words will convict them!