Water sharing, when some in SE Colorado hear that term it tends to make folks say they understand that as a buy and dry. It did happen in Crowley county and many still remember the purchase of water and the long term implications.
Colorado Springs Utilities has been in talks with Bent County for about three years concerning a proposal to share water with Colorado Springs.
Scott Lorenz is the project manager of water sharing in the lower Arkansas Valley. He says the history behind water sharing has made people nervous, you might know that term as buy and dry.
Lorenz says developing new water sources would allow them to take some from Bent County and promise to give it back with no end date.
Newer technology has allowed center pivot irrigation which Lorenz states is more efficient.
Lorenz tells us that Colorado Springs Utilities was able to help two farmers convert to the center pivot irrigation.
"That efficiency that they're using to kinda keep the economics of farming up for them allows us to take a portion of the water without impacting the local economy."
Lorenz said it's been a long process, they have been having conversations with Bent County for three years. He said it's been just understanding each other which includes impact to the county, economy, neighbors, and to everything.
So, what would developing a water share program look like? Lorenz says the agreement would focus on water sharing project.
Is there any economic degradation that happens because of the project?
What are the land use implications?
Bent county will need to have staff to monitor to make sure that Colorado Springs Utilities keeps its promise to be good stewards of the water used.
A hearing will be held July 12th at 9am at the Bent County Courthouse. The public is encouraged to attend to make their concerns known and ask any questions they might have.
The IGA, Intergovernmental Agreement is posted on the Bent county website.
(Watch a video about Water Sharing here)