Sep 17 2011
The city of Aspen cannot allow construction of a hydropower plant, activists are arguing, because it long ago abandoned its hydropower-based water rights on Castle and Maroon Creeks.
Aspen wants to construct a 1.1 megawatt hydropower operation using as much as 27 cubic feet per second from Maroon Creek and slightly less from Castle Creek. One component of the project would be a pipeline intended to ship want from Thomas Reservoir, where the city has its treatment plant, to a power turbine. The city has argued that the pipe is necessary for drainage.
In a lawsuit, however, 11 plaintiffs say that while the city once both had and used hydropower rights, at a Castle Creek hydro station, it effectively abandoned them after down the facility in 1958.
They argued that “Aspen has shown its intent to abandon the hydropower use decreed [to the Castle and Maroon creek water rights] by not using the water right for this purpose for over 50 years.”