Water district files opposition to Shell request | AspenTimes.com

Water district files opposition to Shell request

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. ” A water district has filed a statement of opposition to a request by Shell Frontier Oil and Gas for substantial water rights on the Yampa River.

The filing by the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District allows the district to be notified of the proceedings.

“We’re in it to look after the constituency and our district,” district general manager Kevin McBride said Friday. “It doesn’t do the Upper Yampa any good to be taking water out.”

The towns of Oak Creek and Yampa also oppose the company’s request over concerns that it could affect future water rights and development across northwest Colorado.

Shell Oil filed a request Dec. 30 with the District 6 Water Division office seeking 375 cubic feet per second to be drawn from the Yampa during high flows fed by snowmelt in the spring and early summer. The water would fill a proposed 45,000 acre-foot reservoir in Moffat County for use in oil shale development.

The Yampa’s peak spring flows commonly exceed 11,000 cfs west of Maybell, where the river is about to meet its confluence with the Green River. The 375 cfs being sought by Shell is comparable to the typical mid-July flow of the Yampa River at the Fifth Street Bridge in Steamboat Springs.

Critics say extracting oil from shale will use too much of the West’s scarce water, but Shell has said it believes its process, still in the experimental stages, will be more efficient.

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