In-stream water loan bill cruises in House
A bill introduced by state Rep. Kathleen Curry to allow water loans to maintain stream flows during dry conditions sailed through the Colorado House of Representatives last week.
The bill was passed unanimously by the full House Monday, according to Curry. It previously was approved by a 10-0 bipartisan vote in the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee.
A situation in Aspen during the drought summer of 2002 was a poster child for the bill. The owners of the Salvation Ditch Co. were willing to temporarily stop diverting water from the Roaring Fork River east of Aspen to boost the river’s flow through town. The state water engineer wouldn’t allow it because he said state law prohibited in-stream water loans unless the governor had declared a drought.
Curry’s bill allows loans to be made through the Colorado Water Conservation District even if a drought hasn’t been declared. It allows a water rights holder to make loans in three out of 10 years.
Debate of the bill hasn’t started yet in the state Senate.
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Facing a nearly more than $700,000 shortfall in transportation funding, Upper Roaring Fork Valley elected officials decided to dip into their savings account to continue all funding commitments for a year.