Yesterday I had the opportunity to take a trip out to Chatfield Reservoir for the signing of two bills, SB13-181 and HB13-1248, by Governor Hickenlooper. As these bills were being signed into legislation, it was inspiring to see how many folks came out to support those who have worked these bills to fruition. With creativity, resilience, and hope for Colorado’s water future, our water leaders are working along side our legislators to put forth the best and most effective laws for our water community. Summaries of both bills are below.
The bill authorizes the Colorado water conservation board to administer a pilot program consisting of up to 3 pilot projects, each up to 10 years in duration, in the lower Arkansas River basin to demonstrate the practice of fallowing agricultural irrigation land and leasing the associated water rights for temporary municipal use. Sets limits and prohibits the board from approving a project involving more than two thousand five hundred transferrable consumptive acre feet per year; requires at least on project to be less than one thousand transferrable consumptive acre feet per year. Prohibits the fallowing of the same land for more than three years in a ten year period and prohibits fallowing more than 30% of a single irrigated farm for more than three consecutive years.
SB13-181 CONCERNING THE FUNDING OF COLORADO WATER CONSERVATION BOARD PROJECTS, AND MAKING APPROPRIATIONS IN CONNECTION THEREWITH
As passed by the Senate, this bill is the annual CWCB Projects bill, which authorizes expenditures for 15 water related programs and projects across Colorado. It also authorizes the Board to acquire instream flow rights to improve as well as protect the environments. Additionally, the bill changes the operational account of the severance tax trust fund into a separate fund and transfers the administration of that fund and the severance tax trust fund from the state treasury to the department of natural resources. The bill also changes the perpetual base account of the severance tax trust fund into a separate fund, the severance tax perpetual base fund, which is administered by the CWCB.