Growth in Colorado is an issue affecting everyone. It's no surprise that meeting water demands imposed by this growth presents a serious challenge to communities. Estimates project the population within the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District (Chaffee, Custer, & Western Fremont Counties) to double within 20-30 years.
The District plays a vital role in protecting water usage now and in the future by securing the Valley's water supplies through augmentation and watchdog efforts.
One of the primary roles of the District is to preserve and protect water through legislative and judicial means. For example, in 1992, the Pueblo West subdivision sought a share of the Frying Pan Arkansas Project water allocation set aside for municipalities west of Pueblo County. Due to a concerted effort by water conservancy district officials, this attempt was thwarted. This action saves the Upper Arkansas Valley 3-4,000 acre-feet of water annually.
In 1995, in theaftermath of the Kansas v. Colorado dispute, the District led the efforts of water users to join the State Water Engineer in amending the Rules and Regulations for water administration in the Arkansas River. In that landmark case, existing deep well permits were found to be unlawful and many wells in our region were under the threat of being turned off. The District stepped in to offer an augmentation water plan while other areas outside the District lost legal use of their well water. When the Rules and Regulations were amended by the Water Court, the District was instrumental in protecting property owners and businesses by providing a means to replace stream depletions to meet State well pumping regulations.