Colorado water official blasts entrepreneur’s pipeline proposal

‘[W]e think this is a bad project.’

FROM THE CASPER STAR-TRIBUNE:

By Jeff Gearino, Southwest Wyoming bureau

ROCK SPRINGS — Historically, the 62 documented, high-alpine glaciers in western Wyoming’s Wind River Range pour about 1.18 million acre feet of some of the purest water in the country into the Flaming Gorge Reservoir each year, via the Green River.

But records show in the past two decades that inflows have only averaged about 970,000 acre feet of water into the popular lake.

That difference of about 250,000 acre feet is the amount of water Colorado entrepreneur Aaron Million hopes to move through his proposed 520-mile pipeline from the Flaming Gorge to Colorado’s thirsty Front Range.

A veteran Colorado engineer said last week his water conservation district worries there won’t be enough excess water left to be taken out of the Green River system.

If the pipeline is approved, municipal and other entities in southwest Wyoming and western Colorado that rely on the Green River may not have enough water to meet their future recreation, tourism and industrial growth needs.

“There’s just no water for Million for this project,” Colorado River Water Conservation District General Manager Eric Kuhn told members of a local group opposing the pipeline project. […]

[Read the complete article here.]

… Increasing demand for water in the upper Colorado River Basin — combined with fears that climate change could reduce future water supplies — make Million’s massive transbasin water diversion proposal risky at best, Kuhn said.

He said the Colorado River District board shares the concerns of people in southwest Wyoming about moving water from the Green River, and the Flaming Gorge Reservoir it feeds, to Colorado’s bustling Front Range.

“The [Million pipeline] question comes down to inflows into the Flaming Gorge … and all the science suggests a drier future,” Kuhn told members of the Communities Protecting the Green River Committee during an informational meeting Tuesday night.

“If Million is right and flows average 1.18 million acre feet each year, then we should all be OK … but if he’s wrong and we keep seeing that bottom number, then we’re in a world of hurt,” Kuhn said,

“The bottom line is … our district is planning for the worst and that’s why we think this is a bad project,” said Kuhn, who has worked for the district for more than 30 years.

Read the complete article here.

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