Augmentation plans in Colorado were established in the 1969 Water Rights Determination and Administration Act (“1969 Act”). The 1969 Act recognized the hydraulic interaction relationship between surface water rights and alluvial groundwater rights, and that groundwater rights that were generally junior to surface water rights could injure the senior rights, especially since at the time there was rapidly increasing alluvial well pumping. Therefore, one of the results of the 1969 Act was to require augmentation plans for junior water users on over-appropriated streams that would require these users to obtain sufficient replacement water to offset any injurious depletions to senior water rights. In this way, junior water rights could continue to pump as long as they didn’t injure the senior rights. Augmentation plans apply to any junior groundwater right, whether it is associated with an alluvial aquifer adjacent to a stream or not-nontributary water of the Denver Basin.
Lytle Water Solutions team member Chris Fehn, P.E., P.G., presented at this week’s AEG Mile High Chapter Meeting in Golden, Colorado. His talk, titled “An Innovative Model to Solve Colorado’s Projected Front Range Water Crisis” explained LWS’ ongoing project with Parker Water & Sanitation District (PWSD) and the Northeast Colorado Water Cooperative (NECWC).
The inefficient water from lawn irrigation that makes it back to nearby streams is called a lawn irrigation return flow, or LIRF for short. Some municipalities have been claiming LIRF credits for over 30 years in Colorado, but many municipalities are not claiming this water to which they have a right.
Depth-area reduction factor (DARF) curves are used to evaluate areal precipitation due to a storm event that occurs simultaneously over an entire watershed. DARF curves can be developed for storm events using radar data and, as necessary, calibrating these data with point precipitation gage station data.
Very often municipalities either own a senior irrigation water right or are considering the purchase of a senior irrigation water right and need to understand the potential yield of the right in a ‘change of use’ case in Water Court. A change of use case is when a water right is changed through the courts to another use such as an irrigation right being changed to municipal, or commercial, use, or to be used for augmentation.
Given the current and expected future growth, municipal water suppliers are looking more and more to agricultural water rights to meet their growing demands. Since these senior water rights can only be put to beneficial use based on their decreed uses, to utilize these water rights for municipal purposes, or any purpose other than the decreed uses, a change of use case must be adjudicated in the Colorado Water Court.
There may be changes coming in the US uranium mining industry regarding quantities of imported and domestically-produced uranium. In July 2018 the United States Department of Commerce initiated a Section 232 investigation into the currently high levels of uranium imports.
Mike O'Grady has joined Lytle Water Solutions as a Senior Project Manager. Mr. O'Grady is the former Principal and co-founder of States West Water Resources Corporation in Cheyenne, Wyoming and has acted as the Project Manager in acquisition of state and federal permits for dam projects within several western states, including all major dam projects constructed within Wyoming since 1980.