by Bill Knowles
WALSENBURG- The Huerfano County Water Conservancy District has been working for several months trying to locate an augmentation source so that Gardner and Malachite Springs may have water under the Rule 14 Plan approved by the State Engineer over two years ago. As of Monday, Aug. 23, a lease giving the HCWCD Enterprise the necessary water was approved on a 5-0 vote.
Board member Kent Mace was the person working with Lori Lucking of the Lucking Living Trust. The lease was entered into on Aug. 8, and deals with water rights number four and number 11 that the Lucking Trust holds in the Martin Ditch along the Huerfano River. The HCWCD will pay a maximum of $1,000 for the five acre feet.
Enterprise Chair Dawson Jordan signed the lease on Aug. 12, with the lease expiring on Dec. 31, 2011. The lease calls for five acre feet to be generated by the rights through the end of the irrigation season, which is the end of October.
In order to provide the water called for in the lease, the trust will have to dry up a portion of its property, about six to seven acres, which was irrigated under the historical use of the decrees. However, Jordan noted that the land had already been dried up for about two years already.
The lease still has to be approved by the Colorado Division of Water Resources, for the use of the water rights under the division’s Rule 14 plan and its substitute water supply plan (SWSP).
The approval of the lease moves the Rule 14 plan forward until the end of December. After that the HCWCD will still have to locate a more permanent source of augmentation water.
“We are probably better off with the [water right] four than the three. If you look at the collective use on the three, it’s bad,” Jordan said.
Wins over 20 awards at the annual Colorado Press Association convention, including General Excellence for the second year in a row World Journal Staff Report