Aspen hydropower project discussion on tap | AspenTimes.com

Aspen hydropower project discussion on tap

Aaron Hedge
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – The City Council on Monday will review for the third time a proposal to drain water from Maroon and Castle creek, for at least part of the year, to create a new Aspen hydropower plant.

The council has extended talks on the plant so the project’s objectors and proponents can negotiate.

Tim McFlynn, a Snowmass Village mediation attorney and one of the group’s leaders, said last week that while it would soon have a recommendation ready for the City Council, the proposal would not be ready to present it Monday.

He said his group, coordinated by the Pitkin County Healthy Rivers and Streams Board, will provide an update, but that he couldn’t give any details because of the preliminary and private nature of the mediation effort.

The mediation, which has been in the works since late September, is looking to appease a number of concerned citizens. Several residents who live along Castle Creek contend the project will be unhealthy for the streams and could damage the water table that feeds many of their wells.

The project would take 27 cubic feet per second from Maroon Creek and 25 cfs from Castle Creek.

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City officials have said they can be flexible in the amount of water they take from the creeks to ensure the health of the ecosystems.

Originally, the city had proposed drawing Castle Creek down to about 14 cfs for up to six months of the year. But officials have since said that money could still be saved with the project even if the city doesn’t draw it below 19 cfs.

Project leaders expect the initiative to save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars a year after the bonds are paid off three decades from now.

ahedge@aspentimes.com