OCR March Update

SB-023 Water Efficiency Savings Bill.

March 25, 2014

Trout Unlimited supports SB-023, the water efficiency savings bill now being considered by the legislature. The bill is specific to agricultural uses on the West Slope. If passed, the provision would allow an irrigator who implements an efficiency improvement – such as piping an open ditch – to transfer the efficiency savings to the CWCB for in-stream flow. The bill has received the support of key water leaders such as the Colorado Water Congress, Colorado Water District, Upper Gunnison River Water Conservancy District, Southwest Water Conservancy District, Water Quality/Quantity Committee of Northwest Council of Governments and the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District.

On February 18th the Colorado Water Congress considered the bill and voted to support the legislation which is an enormous endorsement for this key piece of legislation. On February 20th the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy moved in bipartisan fashion to approve the bill with some amendments and send it to the floor of the Senate for a general vote. We are pleased to report that the bill has passed third reading in the Senate, has been introduced in the House, and will be considered by the Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee on March 31st. While the bill has been amended, the original concept remains intact: Incentivize irrigation efficiency improvements and provide an opportunity to improve flows without the threat of abandonment or other harm to the holder of a decreed water right. Further, it demonstrates that collaborative efforts between agriculture and conservation help to protect both agriculture and healthy rivers and streams.  Passage of this legislation through the House of Representatives and on to the Governor for signature will be a meaningful step forward to allow willing West Slope irrigators to help our western Colorado rivers and streams. Please contact your House Representative and tell them you support SB-023-The Water Efficiency Savings Bill. http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2014A/cslFrontPages.nsf/HomeSplash?OpenForm


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