July 4, 2012--Beg, borrow and buy: Ouray struggles to shore up water rights (Telluride Watch)

The City of Ouray has submitted an emergency water supply substitute plan to the Colorado Division of Water Resources which outlines the ways in which it can offset out-of-priority depletions to the Uncompahgre River. While the CDWR has not yet given the plan its seal of approval, city officials are optimistic it will get Ouray out of hot water with the Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association, which in May placed a call on the City of Ouray’s municipal water supply. The city’s water rights are junior to two major categories of water users on the Uncompahgre River – those above and below the Ridgway Reservoir, corresponding to the Upper and Lower Uncompahgre River. The emergency water supply substitute plan, produced by Wright Water Engineers, identifies different solutions for each category. In order to offset out-of-priority depletions for the Lower Uncompahgre River call that is currently in effect, the city will use augmentation water from shares it recently leased in the Montrose and Delta Canal. In the event of an Upper Uncompahgre River Call (anticipated to occur sometime this month), the city will obtain augmentation water from Crystal Lake reservoir in Ironton Park.

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