Fri April 11, 2014

Water Board Sets Allotment For Northern Colorado Farmers, Cities

A power plant within Big Thompson Canyon, a crucial water way for the Colorado-Big Thompson project which pulls water from Western Slope streams to Front Range cities and farms.
Credit U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Northern Colorado farmers and municipalities will see a bump from last fall in how much supplemental water they receive from the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, which pulls Western Slope water to the Front Range.

Last November, Northern Water Conservancy District board members set the water quota at 50 percent and chose to raise it this spring to 60 percent. Agricultural and city leaders lobbied for more, but the board stayed conservative in its allotment.

Above average snowpack in the mountains, full reservoirs and moisture-laden soil allowed the board to raise the quota to 60 percent, which is the same as last spring. Northern Water spokesman Brian Werner says the allotment is lower than most years when more water is needed to offset drought.

“We make more water available in drier years and less water in wetter years and we all know it’s a wetter year right now so being a little under the average is probably normal for this kind of water year,” Werner said.

Werner says the board could revisit the issue next month and raise the allotment even further if needed. Northern Water supplements water supplies for 33 cities and towns, which deliver water 800,000 people in Northern Colorado.