From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
“We appreciate the willingness of Aurora and the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority to take the long view for the benefit of their communities and ours,” Super Ditch President John Schweizer said. “We knew that if we could find a way to meet the city’s needs that also allowed farmers to keep on farming, we would have a good answer for both sides.”
The Pikes Peak group includes Fountain, Cherokee, Donala, Monument, Palmer Lake, Triview and Woodmen Hills water districts in El Paso County. The price of water in the two contracts is identical — $500 per acre-foot escalating according to a utilities price index over 40 years — but the conditions under which water would be purchased vary significantly.
The Pikes Peak group agreed to purchase up to 8,020 acre-feet annually — enough for about 20,000 homes in El Paso County — beginning at 2,000 acre-feet next year. The water would replace overworked groundwater supplies for most of the communities, and would be required annually. Right now, the only way to move the water is by exchange, but the Pikes Peak group is working toward using the Southern Delivery System that Colorado Springs is planning to construct. An environmental impact statement from the Bureau of Reclamation would be required to move water through the pipeline from Pueblo Dam…
Aurora already has the storage and exchange potential to move water, through the Homestake Project with Colorado Springs. Water stored at Twin Lakes is moved through the Otero Pumping Station, and Aurora’s share is delivered to Spinney Mountain Reservoir along the South Platte River…
The biggest hurdle could be the approval of ditch companies. Meetings are planned in early November to inform shareholders of all seven ditches of the details of the agreements. The Super Ditch is a private corporation of individual shareholders from the Bessemer, Catlin, Fort Lyon, High Line, Holbrook, Otero and Oxford ditches. Each ditch would have to look at changing bylaws to allow participation in the leases.
More Arkansas Valley Super Ditch coverage here and here.