From the Sterling Journal Advocate:
The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) and the Colorado Water Trust closed on the purchase of up to 5.45 cubic feet per second of water under the Breem Ditch water right for instream flow use to preserve the natural environment of two highly visible water-short streams — Washington Gulch and the Slate River, and to improve the natural environment of Washington Gulch. The June 28 acquisition was the CWCB’s first water purchase using funds authorized by the General Assembly in 2008 for instream flow water acquisitions. The CWCB purchased a portion of the water using those funds, and the Colorado Water Trust donated a portion of the water to the CWCB. “This is a great example of the benefits CWCB’s Water Acquisition Program can provide to our state’s streams through creative partnerships with water users,” said Jennifer Gimbel, director of the CWCB.
The Breem Ditch water acquisition is the result of a unique, collaborative approach by the CWCB, the Colorado Water Trust, the Skyland Metropolitan District and Verzuh Ranch, Inc., a local development company owned by Billy Joe Lacy and Dan Dow. Despite sometimes water-plentiful summers, irrigation diversions into the Breem Ditch would cause Washington Gulch to completely dry by the middle of July and reduce flows in the Slate River as well. The purchase of the Breem Ditch will allow Washington Gulch to flow year-round, even during dry summers, and will help fix flow shortages to the Slate River.
Under Colorado’s Instream Flow Program, the CWCB will protect the water decreed to the Breem Ditch on Washington Gulch and about two miles of the Slate River downstream of the confluence with Washington Gulch. Below this reach, the water will be available for Skyland Metropolitan District’s system, which from 2002 to 2004 — Colorado’s most severe recent drought period — was in danger of impairment.
More instream flow coverage here.