Date: 09/30/2009

Windy Gap


Votes: View--> Action Taken:

10:01 AM -- Windy Gap

Bart Miller, Western Resource Advocates, discussed his concerns regarding the Windy Gap Firming Project and Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP). The Windy Gap Project is located west of Granby and consists of a diversion dam on the Colorado River. The firming project is intended to increase the reliability of the Windy Gap Project. He discussed levels of municipal water use (Attachment A) and pointed out that while some cities have been able to reduce their water consumption, Greeley, Broomfield, and Longmont, on average, consume more water than some other front range cities (200 gallons per person per year or more), and that these same cities are some of the major proponents of the Windy Gap Project. He explained that because some cities have a much lower rate of consumption, he believes that there are opportunities to implement water conservation measures in these cities with higher consumption rates. He also discussed water rate structures (Attachment B) as one way to manage demand for water and explained that most cities, except for Loveland, Fort Morgan, and Broomfield, have stepped rate structures where the price of water increases based on the amount consumed. He again pointed out that Loveland and Broomfield are proponents of the project. He concluded by asking the committee to continue to provide funding for water efficiency through the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) and encouraged the committee members to look for ways to add language about water conservation in energy bills and other relevant bills.

Attachment A.pdf Attachment B.pdf

10:06 AM --
Mely Whiting, Trout Unlimited, explained how the angling values of the Colorado River would be impaired by the Windy Gap Firming Project. She indicated that the project would take water from the Colorado River during periods of high flows. She also discussed the negative consequences of taking water during periods of high flow, which she said were not addressed in the project's environmental impact statement. She also thanked the district for its effort to mitigate the project's implementation during low flow periods.

10:09 AM --
James Newberry, Grand County Commissioner, explained that Grand County is dealing with two firming projects: one from Denver Water and the Windy Gap project. He discussed how keeping Grand County rivers healthy is important for tourism and maintaining the county's way of life. He explained that the county is continuing to have discussions with Denver Water and the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District about how to use firming systems to enhance the rivers. He answered questions from the committee about how negotiations are addressing conservation issues, whether high flows are still up for negotiation, how flows will be protected during drought, and how instream flows will be used.

10:23 AM --
Eric Wilkinson, General Manager, Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, described the location of the Windy Gap Project (Attachment C). He explained that the project is a compliment to the original project using excess capacity of the Colorado Big Thompson Project, which will make water from the Windy Gap Project more reliable. He discussed the project's history and indicated that the Windy Gap Project will firm 30,000 acre feet of water. Mr. Wilkinson explained that there are 13 participants in the project who are each creating individual water conservation plans. Additionally, he said that Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District is working to address concerns identified in the environmental impact statement and is working with the other participants to put together mitigation and enhancement packages to address these issues. The mitigation and enhancement measures will be incorporated into a proposed intergovernmental agreement between Grand County, the Northwest Council of Governments, Middle Park Water Conservancy District, and the Colorado River Conservation District. Once an agreement is reached, the parties will go to water court and have the agreement incorporated into the project's water decree. Mr. Wilkinson answered questions from the committee.

Attachment C.pdf