From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
n light of a federal study showing shortages in the Colorado River system, U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., plans to introduce legislation that would promote increased water storage. Gardner hopes to work with the Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation and Army Corps of Engineers to gain approval of water projects already on the drawing board.
This week, he released a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jo Ellen Darcy, which explains the critical need for storage during times of drought, such as Colorado is experiencing.
“The Colorado River Basin Study highlights that demand will outpace supply in the near future, making it imperative we start construction on new water storage infrastructure immediately,” Gardner said. “There are many projects far along in planning and permitting stages, including projects like the Northern Integrated Supply Project in Colorado, that are simply waiting for approval.”
State water planners have embraced storage as a way of equalizing river flows between high and low years. The Colorado River basin historically has seen wide variability in rainfall, and climate projections show this will continue. The issue is important to the Front Range of Colorado, including Pueblo, because much of the water that supports the state’s cities is brought over from the Western Slope.
A study released this week by the Bureau of Reclamation predicts a shortfall of 3.4 million acre-feet annually by 2060 in the Colorado River basin, which covers parts of seven Western states.