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Mr. PERLMUTTER. But a lot of it has to do with the river bed itself, isn't that right?
Mr. LONG. Correct.
Mr. PERLMUTTER. So I just wanted to be clear for the record. You do have an agreement with Aurora, don't you?
Mr. LONG. Southeast.
Mr. PERLMUTTER. Southeast Conservancy. I mean you as a representative of the district.
Mr. LONG. Yes.
Mr. PERLMUTTER. And that agreement provides a variety of benefits to the district, does it not?
Mr. LONG. It does.
Mr. PERLMUTTER. So the key thing for your organization is that this conduit be built so that fresher water from the reservoir can get downstream; isn't that right?
Mr. LONG. Absolutely.
Mr. PERLMUTTER. Mr. Ryan, I'd like to turn my questions to you, sir.
Mr. RYAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. PERLMUTTER. How does the Homestake Project play with the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project in ten words or less?
Mr. RYAN. The two projects are transbasin diversions. The two projects act in synergy to improve the overall system effectiveness.
Mr. PERLMUTTER. The two projects were put together back in the '60s, were they not, to really be able to build the whole project out as an economy of scale?
Mr. RYAN. Yes, sir.
Mr. PERLMUTTER. So it isn't as if Aurora and its use of the Fryingpan-Arkansas system is a new phenomenon. It's dated back to the beginning of the project?
Mr. RYAN. Yes, sir. The first contract that I'm aware of was dated 1965.
Mr. PERLMUTTER. Now the Chairwoman's questions really concern me in that your study, your four-year study, 200-page study, determined that there was negligible change to the river, to the water quality, based upon use of the water-diversion from the lower part, which would be the reservoir, to up the river into the mountains, isn't that right?
Mr. RYAN. Yes, yes.
Mr. PERLMUTTER. What that means is, as to Mr. Long, the water quality doesn't change based on the lease that's been requested by Aurora, at least in the estimation of the Bureau of Reclamation.
Mr. RYAN. Yes.
Mr. PERLMUTTER. So from your point of view, a 40-year-well, I'll get to the 40-year lease, but the differentiation by going upstream and transferring its water rights down to the reservoir shouldn't hurt Mr. Long or his district.
Mr. RYAN. Yes, sir. But we recognize that concern remains, and so that's why we have included a commitment—and Aurora has agreed—that it requires Aurora to remain involved in the water quality study being organized by the Southeastern Colorado Conservancy District.
Mr. PERLMUTTER. Last question. Is a 40- year lease as Aurora has requested from the Bureau of Reclamation, is that unique?
Mr. RYAN. No, sir.
Mr. UDALL. Thank you, Madam Chair. As Congressman Perlmutter mentioned, he gets confused by all of the Salazars, Chairwoman, and no doubt all the Udalls confuse her, but you haven't seen nothing yet, because there are lots of Lamborns and Perlmutters as well. But in the end, of course, we are all Coloradans, and we are here today to look back at 45 years of history, but also to look at what the 21st Century might hold for us with this important project.
At the risk of creating some concern on the part of my west slope friends—I know Chris Treese is here I want to also mention that this project is a west slope project. In addition, we'll hear from Chris Treese and others about the Fryingpan portion of the FryArk Project. Just I want to make note of that.
Director Ryan, thank you for being here. As you know, recently I sent the Bureau of Reclamation a letter asking you all to consider and strongly urging you to do a full EIS on the relationship that we have with Aurora. Could you just for the record let us know why you declined to take that request to heart.
Mr. RYAN. Congressman, we considered your request and others had requested it as well. When we took a look at the information we had in front of us, the analysis that had been done, and we took a look at what the requirements of law were under the National Environmental Policy Act, we came back to the same conclusion, that we believed that the environmental assessment with its finding of no significant impact is appropriate. We think that's the right thing.
Mr. UDALL. I appreciate the fact that you're forthcoming and I know there's a letter in transit to me.
Mr. RYAN. Yes.
Mr. UDALL. I would just for the record mention in part the reason I requested that is that I think we're on track to end up in the courts, and I hope that isn't the case, but I think that may be what the outcome is, and I thought an EIS would further clarify where we are and perhaps help us to avoid litigation. But be that as it may.
Mr. RYAN. Thank you.
Mr. UDALL. If I might, you say that the Reclamation has other proposed
“if and when” contracts for the Southern Delivery System and the PSOP pump. Could you provide some more specific details about those possible future contracts. If that's a long answer, I would like to have it for the record, but if you can be concise, id appreciate it.
Mr. RYAN. I'll do my best to be concise. In preparing the environmental documents or in conversations with the different groups in the past regarding whether it's the Southern Delivery System or the PSOP, we've had entities come to Reclamation and request if we go forward with this, would Reclamation consider entering into
these "if and when” contracts with us, and we have said yes, we would consider that.
Mr. UDALL. Thank you, and if you want to provide additional information, I appreciate it.
Mr. RYAN. Yes
Mr. UDALL. Mr. Long, always great to have you here and thank you for your public service. Somebody said to me recently you have to wonder about elected officials. Most normal people don't want a job where they are hated by complete strangers, and I'm not suggesting that Mr. Long is in that category, but maybe some of us sitting at the table are.
You say the project is limited to an average of just 69,100 acrefeet on the west slope annually. What determined the actual amount that's diverted each year?
Mr. LONG. We need to meet certain flow requirements to the rivers on the west slope, and once the flow is at a certain level-and it changes during the course of the year, let's say 100 cubic feet per second, and I'm just using the number, which I can't remember, let's say in April, anything over that, we can divert. So what determines what we bring across is meeting the flows as well as the snowfall.
Mr. UDALL. Thank you for that answer, and that's a very important number, as we all know. On page 11 of your statement, you discuss the Allocation Principles, which are listed of course in capital letters, to determine how project water is used, and you say the principles require allowing a minimum of 51 percent of the annual project of water supply of municipal and domestic use. So is it fair to say that the project is primarily a municipal water supply project and not primarily a project to supply agriculture, and this is at the heart of the hearing today. And I left you 40 seconds to answer, but I know you may want to provide additional thoughts for the record.
Mr. LONG. OK. That is correct. The Allocation Principles provided for 51 percent of the water to go to municipalities, 49 percent agricultural. Historically that has not been the case. As of 2007, 74.56 percent of the water has gone to agriculture. 25.4 percent has gone to municipal interests. In 2002 and since 2002, the municipal interests have requested and received—well, not necessarily received, but they requested the full 51 percent of whatever we brought over.
But as of today, the majority of the water has gone to agriculture. But we believe that we will see a shift and more will ultimately go to municipal interests.
Mr. UDALL. Thank you. Thank you, Madam Chair. I think what you're saying is there's a critical mass here, there is a tipping point that very much concerns those of you in the southeastern part of the state. And thank you, and thank you, Chairwoman Napolitano.
Mrs. NAPOLITANO. Thank you.
I'd rather not do a second round, if you don't mind, Mr. Lamborn, so we can hear the rest of the testimony, unless you have some pertinent questions.
Mr. LAMBORN. [Shakes head.]
Mrs. NAPOLITANO. Thank you. Pardon me. Taking the prerogative of the chair though, I will point out to Mr. Long or ask Mr.
Long, can you explain very quickly the differences between the Preferred Storage Options Plan, PSOP, and the plans for long-term excess capacity contracts with the City of Aurora.
Mr. LONG. Could you repeat the question?
Mrs. NAPOLITANO. Can you please explain the differences between PSOP and the plans for long-term excess capacity contracts with the City of Aurora.
Mr. LONG. I think I'd prefer to respond to that in writing. I mean, that's a lengthy answer.
Mrs. NAPOLITANO. That's fine. And, yes, certainly would love to have it in writing so that we then they can share it with the panel. And this panel will be asked to submit questions for the record, because we have so many witnesses that we are not in a position to allow a second round. So questions will be entered for the record and we would appreciate if you would supply one, I believe it's a 10-day time frame.
Mr. LONG. That is absolutely no problem.
Mrs. NAPOLITANO. Thank you very much. And thank you both for being here.
Mr. Ryan, may I ask that you might stick around in case we might want to ask other questions later on. Thank you, sir.
, Mrs. NAPOLITANO. Gentlemen, please move on to the second panel.
Welcome, Lionel Rivera, Mayor of Colorado Springs, please come up; Terry Scanga, General Manager, Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District, Salida, Colorado; Mr. Bill Thiebaut, District Attorney, Pueblo, Colorado; Jay Winner, General Manager, Lower Arkansas Conservancy District, Rocky Ford; and Sandy White, attorney of water from La Veta.
Welcome, and as soon as you're ready to go, we'll start off with the honorable mayor, Lionel Rivera. Mr. Rivera. STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE LIONEL RIVERA,
MAYOR, COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO Mr. RIVERA. Thank you. Thank you, Madam.
I think I have it now, thank you. Thank you, Madam Chair Napolitano and members of the committee and Members of Congress. Thank you for this opportunity to appear before you today. My name is Lionel Rivera, and I am the mayor of Colorado Springs.
Colorado Springs is known to many of you as being the location of the world-famous Broadmoor Hotel; the United States Olympic Training Center; strategic military installations, including the United States Air Force Academy, Peterson Air Force Base, headquarters for the U.S. Northern Command, NORAD, and Air Force Space Command, and Fort Carson, soon to be headquarters of the United States Army 4th Infantry Division.
However, what may not be as well known to you is all of these entities and a population of over 400,000 people rely on Colorado Springs to deliver their water supply. Today Colorado Springs' water supply comes from a variety of sources and features a water delivery infrastructure that reaches over three river basins and seven counties, and on average 70 percent of our water is delivered from western Colorado via three delivery pipelines. The Fry-Ark Project plays an integral role in delivering this water.
As you have already heard, the Fry-Ark Project was conceived, planned and constructed as a multipurpose project to serve both the interests of agriculture and municipal entities within the Southeastern District. It has always included a pipeline to deliver project and acquired nonproject water to Colorado Springs, and Colorado Springs has an equal right to expect to receive the potential benefits that the project has to offer such as the other project supporters and beneficiaries do.
From the inception of this project, the City of Colorado Springs has been an active participant and last year alone the people of El Paso County contributed over 72 percent of the total valuations that go into funding the project.
The availability of a dependable and cost-effective water supply has propelled the growth and success of Colorado Springs and proves that in many ways the Fry-Ark Project is working as it was intended. On August 17, 1962, in a speech made right here in Pueblo, Colorado, President John F. Kennedy said the following about the Fry-Ark Project:
“This (project) is an investment in the future of this country, an investment that will repay large dividends. It is an investment in the growth of the West, in the new cities and industries which this project helps make possible.”
Looking back almost 45 years now, President Kennedy's words seem almost prophetic. One needs to look no further than Colorado Springs and Pueblo to see how President Kennedy's vision for the growth of the West has come to fruition. As we have grown, we have done so responsibly with the full recognition that we would continually try to meet water quantity and quality challenges.
We are meeting the water quantity challenge through an extensive release program and through a program that has resulted in one of the lowest per capita water consumption rates in the West. We have answered the water quality challenge by investing $85 million in completed and planned capital improvements to our wastewater system and by creating a stormwater enterprise that will collect over $14 million a year to fund capital improvements in our stormwater management system.
For all of the rhetoric and misinformation that has been and will be spread about our city, the truth is that Colorado Springs has historically sought to avoid relying on the transfer of agricultural water rights to provide a water supply to the city. Far from seeking the demise of the Arkansas Valley agricultural economy, Colorado Springs is working hard to develop a fallowing and leasing program that allows for the development of multiple use of the valley's water supply, multiple uses that will allow farmers to financially benefit from their water rights, while protecting and enhancing the agricultural economy of the valley. And we are jointly leading the efforts to study water quality issues on the Arkansas River and Fountain Creek through a funded commitment and proposed agreement with the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District.
At every turn the City of Colorado Springs has complied with the applicable laws of the United States and the State of Colorado when it comes to acquiring these water supplies. Each of our