The Northern Colorado Water Association is hoping to get the Spring Creek basin designated groundwater status to avoid having to pay returns to the South Platte River. The creek is currently considered tributary to the South Platte. Here’s a report from Bobby Magill writing for the Fort Collins Coloradoan. From the article:
Spring Creek flows into northeast Larimer County from Wyoming and crosses I-25 just north of Wellington. There are now eight groundwater basins in Colorado, all of which are on the Eastern Plains. The last time the state approved a new designated groundwater basin was in 1987.
The groundwater the association currently obtains from wells in the area could affect South Platte surface water rights holders. If the new basin is not designated, the association would be required to return some water into the basin decades from now. The association claims a new designated basin would prevent it from being subject to the needs of the South Platte water rights holders because the water it uses is so far away from the South Platte and has little effect on surface water in the river. “Our engineers are telling us that even though we’ve been pumping stuff since the ’60s, we wouldn’t have any impact on the river for 200 years,” Patterson said.
Keith Vander Horst, designated groundwater team leader for the Colorado Groundwater Commission, said commissioners will decide today whether to consider the association’s request. A hearing that will determine if Spring Creek is viable as a groundwater basin will soon follow.