Water board funds area projects

Donna Gray
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The Colorado Water Conservation Board has awarded more than $4 million in grants for 15 water-related projects across the state, including a study of water demands on the Roaring Fork River.

The CWCB has allocated $40 million over four years for water projects.

Grants totaling $2.1 million were awarded to the Colorado River Basin Roundtable.

The grants were awarded through nine local river basin roundtables. The aim of the groups is to reach agreement on water distribution in the state.

“All the grants were approved conditionally,” John Redifer, CWCB member, told a meeting of the Colorado River Basin Roundtable in Glenwood Springs on Monday. He said most grant applicants will need to provide further information, such as budget requirements, before the money is actually doled out.

The Ruedi Water and Power Authority was awarded $40,000 for a watershed study of the Roaring Fork River to determine specific demands for water.

A $300,000 energy water needs study for the Yampa River basin will also be funded by the CWCB. The study aims to determine how much water will be needed for energy development, including oil shale.

The Bureau of Land Management is currently preparing an environmental impact statement that considers the impacts of oil shale development in the region.

The U.S. Geological Survey has predicted that 1.5 to 1.8 trillion barrels of recoverable oil can be developed from oil shale in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, while the U.S. Water Resources Council estimates that three barrels of water will be needed for every one barrel of oil produced from oil shale.

Also winning grants were a proposed analysis of upper Colorado River endangered fish recovery alternatives ($200,000) and enlargement of the Eagle Park Reservoir between Copper Mountain and Leadville ($250,000).

A proposed whitewater recreation park in Palisade was dropped from consideration when it was withdrawn by the town after roundtable members said they would not support the proposal.

The $100,000 whitewater park on the Colorado River at the mouth of DeBeque Canyon was to be a partnership between the town and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which is building a fish ladder on the Price Stubb Dam at the west end of DeBeque Canyon to help fish move upstream on a rock ramp on the side of the 10-foot dam.