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Weekly water roundup: Snowpack news, Legislative news

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Colorado State Capitol via Coyote Gulch archives

Short takes from the last couple of weeks in Colorado water.

State House passes HB 10-1188

The vote was 40 to 25 for Representative Curry's bill. It was crafted in response to a private landowner's plans to close part of the Taylor River that had been traditionally run by commercial outfitters.

If the bill passes the state senate and receives Governor Ritter's signature commercial rafters will be allowed to portage around dangerous parts of the river and pass through the private land. Bathroom breaks and meal stops are still off limits and the bill does not grant any rights to private boaters.

The State Senate is busy with HB 10-025 which would give the State Engineer's office the authority to fine surface water irrigators that divert out of priority $500 per day. This is the same fine imposed on groundwater irrigators.

Snowpack news

Snowpack is sitting at average the San Juan Basin and Rio Grande basins. Across Colorado the Arkansas is at 86%, the South Platte Basin is at 80%, the Gunnison Basin is at 89%, the North Platte Basin is at 76%, the Yampa Basin is at 76% and the Colorado River Basin is at 75%.

Denver Water extends Moffat Collection System Project comment period

Commenters have until March 17 to let the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers what they think about the plan. Denver Water proposes to raise Gross Dam by 125 feet or so to store more transmountain water from the Fraser River watershed.

The utility is leaning towards guaranteeing minimum flows and coordinating efforts at moving water to minimize impact from flow regimens. Opponents concede the utility's legal standing but cite the water short nature of the Upper Colorado River Basin as reason to forego the project.

Fort Collins wants Flaming Gorge pipeline route change

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released the public comments they've gleaned from the project scoping sessions this week.

The City of Fort Collins objects to the part of the route that would run through the city's Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and Meadow Springs Ranch. The project visionary, Aaron Million, proposed route changes that would take the pipeline closer to Cheyenne then south to the Front Range.

For more info: I follow Colorado water issues at Coyote Gulch.

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