October 6, 2009--Water dispute seeks settlement (Cortez Journal)

A water-rights battle that began in June between two major providers in Montezuma County might be heading toward calmer waters. Montezuma Valley Irrigation Co. filed a lawsuit June 5 in U.S. District Court against the Dolores Water Conservancy District and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for allegedly not meeting water requirements agreed to in a 1977 pact via the Dolores Project. According to the MVI lawsuit, the irrigation company "has been improperly charged (or billed) and assessed 'delivery' of Dolores Project water in the amount of 29,658 acre-feet despite MVI's direct-flow rights in the Dolores River have produced 100 percent of MVI's demand. The District (also) unilaterally determined and assessed an 8,000 acre-foot deficit against MVI to commence the 2009 irrigation season." The action by the conservancy district is contrary to the provisions of existing contracts and is "unreasonable and results in the unlawful taking of an MVI property interest," according to the complaint. MVI is requesting that the federal court declare a judgment that Dolores Project water deliveries to MVI shall not ... be charged to the irrigation company until all irrigation requirements are met by the conservancy. In addition, MVI is asking for "other relief" that the court deems appropriate.

To view the full article, visit the Cortez Journal. For a copy of the original article contact the WIP at (970) 247-1302 or stop by the office at 841 East Second Avenue in Durango.