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‘Unprecedented’ Colorado water deal announced

April 28, 2011
Author: Trouts Staff

From the Denver Business Journal

Date: Thursday, April 28, 2011, 9:26am MDT

Denver Water will pay about $25 million to various Western Slope interests, and agree to not divert any more water across the Continental Divide to Front Range customers unless it gets prior approval from local governments, under a proposed agreement unveiled Thursday in Grand County.

The proposed agreement — called “historic” and “unprecedented” — involves 34 participants, including Denver Water; Grand, Summit and Eagle counties; the Colorado River District; local towns; water providers and ski resorts.

The agreement must be approved by all parties involved, a goal expected by the end of 2011, said Jim Lochhead, CEO and manager of Denver Water, which serves 1.3 million customers in Denver and some surrounding suburbs.

Various aspects must also be approved by state and federal agencies, and the money would be paid as milestones are reached, he said.

“The reality is that ever since the Two Forks [dam] veto [in 1990], with federal permitting requirements and local and state land use controls, the old method of just taking water and moving it from one place to another regardless of impacts — those days are over,” Lochhead said. “We need to be responsible to Western Slope communities and recognize that we impact those communities.”

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