Archive for December, 2009

Dec 31 2009

NE: Niobrara is fully appropriated

The Niobrara River in Nebraska has been determined to be fully appropriated, barring any new applications for water rights.

The most immediate effect of that designation concerns a proposal at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to seek an in-stream flow on the river, which means a requirement that a certain amount of water be maintained in the river for fish, habitat and other environmental purposes. The river is also used for recreational purposes including rafting and canoeing.

A proposal to consider that request was on the agenda for the Game and Parks January 5 meeting, but has been removed.

Friends of the Niobrara President Mel Thornton said he was “disappointed” by the fully-appropriated designation. [see Lincoln (NW) Star-Journal, December 29]

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Dec 30 2009

UT: Water right open meeting exemption

Published by under Utah

Utah state Representative Patrick Painter would like to add consideration of water rights – buying, selling, applying for – as another subject for which open public meetings in the state could be closed.

He describes, in a December 29 article in the Salt Lake Tribune: “It’s about a three-word amendment that redefines the classification of water rights and brings it into the present.” He expressed concern that such a move could create a legal equation between water rights and real estate.

Media advocates and others were critical of the idea. They were joined by Mardell Topham, a water rights broker at Sandy: “It seems unwise just to allow cities to meet in secret [on this issue]. The implications of that are enormous.”

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Dec 27 2009

AZ: Colorado River capture

Efforts are accelerating, notably on the part of Arizona, to capture more Colorado River water before it pours from the United States into Mexico.

The Arizona Republic reported on December 27 that “For its $28.6 million investment in Drop 2, about 16 percent of the total cost, Arizona will receive a small share of the water saved, to be taken in even smaller increments over 20-some years. California and Nevada will split the rest based on their contributions. The water saved – up to 70,000 acre-feet each year – will amount to barely one-half of 1 percent of the river’s annual flow. Arizona’s share, 100,000 acre-feet by 2036, is a few drops in the bucket for a state that in a year uses 7 million acre-feet.”

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Dec 26 2009

NE: In-stream in the Niobara

Published by under Nebraska

The Lincoln (NE) Journal-Star on December 26 outlined the dispute and debate over in-stream flow rights in the Niobara river under the headline, “Who do you want protecting the Niobrara? State or feds?”

The article made the point that while some Nebraskans have criticized the state Parks & Game Commission for claiming in-stream rights on the river, mainly to protect fish flows and habitat, that federal agencies could file for federal reserved rights if the state did not.

The article points out that federal involvement “comes into play because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has operated the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge along nine miles of the river since 1912. Then, in 1991, two sections of the Niobrara were designated for protection under the National Wild and Scenic River Act. One designated stretch runs 76 miles downstream from Valentine and is managed by the National Park Service. The other is about 20 miles upstream from where the Niobrara meets the Missouri River and it is managed by the Missouri National Recreational River unit in Yankton.
‘That act specifically says we will manage the river in a free flowing condition,’ said [Dan] Foster, the park service superintendent in Valentine.”

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Dec 21 2009

CO: Two Rivers buyout

Published by under Colorado

From a December 21 press release:

Two Rivers Water Company (“Two Rivers”), formerly Navidec Financial Services, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: NVDF), through its 50% owned joint venture HCIC Holdings LLC, has completed the purchase of 18.11% of the shares of the Huerfano-Cucharas Irrigation Company (“HCIC”) in Southern Colorado. Further, HCIC Holdings LLC has received extensions on options to acquire another 44.72% of HCIC. The majority of the option extensions expire February 1, 2010.
“The option extensions represent a vote of confidence in HCIC Holdings LLC and their vision for HCIC and developing the distribution and storage of water in the Huerfano and Cucharas river basin,” commented John Stroh II, President of Two Rivers.
About Two Rivers Water Company (formerly Navidec Financial Services, Inc.)

Formed in December 2002, Two Rivers is currently focused on acquiring, controlling, perfecting and then selling water storage, water rights, and associated land to develop into a water company.

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Dec 19 2009

CO: NISP or Renaissance?

Published by under cities,Colorado


Map of NISP plan area/NISP

The water supply – and payments for water – in 15 northern Colorado communities are at stake, and two prospective provider projects appear to be ramping up their efforts to get the signoffs.

The Northern Integrated Supply Project has had the early track, partly as a Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District project. It aims to provide about 45,000 acre feet of water to a string of communities around the Fort Collins and Greeley area.

Key sources, the project says:

Glade Reservoir: This reservoir would be located northwest of Fort Collins and north of Horsetooth Reservoir. It would be 5 miles long, 260 feet deep and have the capacity to store 170,000 acre-feet of water. As a point of comparison, Horsetooth holds about 156,000 acre-feet. The water to fill Glade Reservoir would be diverted from the Poudre River using the already existing Poudre Valley Canal. There will be no new structures on the river. U.S. Highway 287 between Fort Collins and the Wyoming border divides the proposed Glade Reservoir site. Therefore, about seven miles of the highway would be relocated.

South Platte Water Conservation Project (Galeton Reservoir): Galeton would be located east of Ault and northeast of Greeley. It would hold about 40,000 acre-feet of water at full capacity. The water to fill Galeton would be diverted from the South Platte River downstream from Greeley. Galeton water would be delivered to two agricultural irrigation companies in exchange for Poudre River water they currently use. What does this mean? More than half of the water that NISP will divert from the Poudre River is water that has already been diverted for decades.

The NISP approach has gotten a string of endorsements from organizations and political figures.

An alternative has been developed by Renaissance Land and Water Management LLC, which also proposes a water delivery system, and has shown proposals to involved communities including Fort Morgan.

“Proponents of a water supply proposal for Fort Morgan got a cool reception from the city’s water advisory board Thursday, but the board did not completely dismiss the company’s plan,” the Fort Morgan Times reported on December 18.

Renaissance officials said they already have access to about 15,000 acre-feet and simply are looking to develop it. Much of the water apparently would be pumped from the Greeley to the Sterling area.

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Dec 19 2009

TX/OK: Water sale battle resumes

Published by under Texas


Tarrant district office

The Tarrant Regional Water District, based at Fort Worth, Texas, on December 18 filed an amended complaint challenging an Oklahoma ban on sale of water out of state. Tarrant said that a federal court order on November 18 offered specific instructions for amending that complaint.

Jim Oliver, TRWD general manager, said that “Despite claims to the contrary, our suit is very much alive. To paraphrase fellow water enthusiast Mark Twain, ‘Rumors of our dismissal have been greatly exaggerated.’ The amended complaint assures our customers that we are continuing our fight to acquire excess water that flows out of Oklahoma in a significant amount, and we have strengthened our claims with every passing day.”

TRWD has been seeking water from three places in Oklahoma north of the Red River, and has expressed interest in other sources as well. Tarrant said that it is seeking about 7% of excess water leaving Oklahoma, and its claims would not affect any water in any reservoir in Oklahoma.

Oliver said that “no only do we have an interested seller of water in the Apache Tribe [of Oklahoma], but we are confident that we have strengthened our claims based on the November 18 order. Even with these developments, we remain steadfast that the best result for both sides would be a negotiated purchase of excess Oklahoma water.”

TRWD describes itself as one of the largest raw water suppliers in the state of Texas, providing water to more than 1.7 million people in the North Central Texas area. Some of its wholesale customers include the cities of Fort Worth, Arlington, Mansfield and the Trinity River Authority. Operations span a 11-county area that reaches from Jack County to Freestone County, and includes maintaining dams at the Water District’s four reservoirs and the more than 150 miles of pipeline used for water transport.

Oklahoma has fought in court Tarrant’s requests, and its legislature earlier this year passed a new law – requiring fill state legislative approval of out of state water right sales – aimed at blocking such sales. However, the november 18 order by Judge Joe Heaton said that law did not legally stop such a sale, upending a key Oklahoma argument. [see the Oklahoma City Oklahoman, December 19]

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Dec 18 2009

CO: New rights for Arapahoe

Published by under Colorado

The Denver Post reported on December 18 that the Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority obtained surface water rights on the South Platte River, in Colorado’s Weld County.

The utility operates in Arapahoe County, in unincorporated places and some smaller communities.

Still, the agency was reported as planning a $153 million bond issue for creating the piping and other facilities for carrying the river’s water to customers.

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Dec 16 2009

GA/FL/AL: Meeting of the governors


Governors Crist, Riley and Perdue/Alabama governor’s web site

The governors of Georgia, Florida and Alabama – Sonny Perdue, Charles Crist and Bob Riley respectively – met at Montgomery, Alabama on October 15, but reached no specific agreements.

They did pledge to try to resolve the three states’ water dispute by the end of next year.

But they operate on an uneven playing table. In a ket court decision on use of a water system that arises in Georgia (where it is heavily used in the Atlanta metro area) but flows through Alabama and Florida as well, Georgia lost decisively. The other two states need do nothing to continue to prevail, but the issue has become fiercely hot in Georgia, which may have to quit using much of the water from the Lake Lanier area that now helps sustain the Atlanta area.

The three last met in Tallahassee in December 2007.

Crist’s statement: “Today, I was pleased to join Governors Riley and Perdue to discuss the importance of equitable water sharing between our three states in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River system. By coming together we were able to discuss the need for long term strategies and the importance of protecting downstream flows to both Florida and Alabama. The meeting marks another important step in the process.

“Each of our states values the water resources of the system for a variety of important reasons. However, as leaders we must adequately address the water needs of the region, as well as the needs of the communities downstream and the lives that those waters support – like the oystermen of Apalachicola. I look forward to continuing a productive and science-based dialogue with both Governors so that we may leave a legacy of sustainability for the people of our three states and our environment.”

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Dec 15 2009

NV: Agreement to drop appeals

Published by under Nevada

A deal between the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which manages water supply for the Las Vegas area, development company Cave Rock Ranch and state water regulators, to end increasingly costly legal action was signed off this month by the Nevada Supreme Court.

The deal provides that the SNWA will cut a $4 million check to Cave Valley Ranch, which had sought to build nearly 1,000 houses in five valleys and thought it had the water supply (18,755 acre feet) needed to proceed.

State Engineer Tracy Taylor ruled against the developer. Bt things didn’t go his way in court, where Senior District Judge Norman Robison held Taylor’s decision “arbitrary, oppressive and a manifest abuse of discretion.” Appeals initially were expected, but the cost and time led the parties to reconsider.

Another challenge to Cave Rock, in support of Taylor’s ruling, remains active in court. [see Las Vegas Sun, December 14]

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