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Incorrect Kit Carson County Tax Roll

Incorrect Kit Carson County Tax Roll

PUBLIC NOTICE: The Republican River Water Conservation District (RRWCD) wishes to officially give public notice that the RRWCD does NOT have a tax levy as shown on the Kit Carson County tax rolls. This is INCORRECT.  The only fee that the RRWCD has on the tax roll is the $14.50/irrigated acre for irrigated land in the District boundary.  Please contact the Kit Carson County Treasurer for clarification of your tax roll.  If you have any questions you can also contact Deb Daniel, RRWCD General Manager at the district office located at 410 Main Street, Suite8, Wray, CO or by calling (970)332-3552 or (970)630-3525.

RRWCD Welcomes New Board Members

RRWCD Welcomes New Board Members

At the beginning of the Republican River Water Conservation District (RRWCD) Board meeting last week, the Board welcomed 2 new Board members. Rod Lenz, RRWCD Board President, swore in Brooke Campbell, from Cheyenne Wells, who will be representing the East Cheyenne Ground Water Management District and Jim Hadachek, also from Cheyenne Wells, who will be representing Cheyenne County on the RRWCD Board.

On August 2, 2019, House Bill 19-1029 went into effect. The bill modified the boundary of the Republican River Water Conservation District (RRWCD) to include the southern portion of Kit Carson County and an area in the northern portion of Cheyenne County. All counties and groundwater management districts in the RRWCD are represented on the Board of Directors 

The change in the boundary brought approximately 332 wells and the associated irrigated acreage into the RRWCD. The annual diversions from these wells has always been included in the groundwater model which tracks the use of water within each state, from which the depletions to the river are calculated, but because they were not been included in the RRWCD boundary, they have not paid the Water Use Fee as have the well owners that are located in the current RRWCD boundary.

For 2019, the RRWCD Board voted to charge a pro-rated rate of $6.00 per irrigated acre to the wells in this area instead of the $14.50 that is assessed on irrigated acres in the RRWCD. All irrigated acres will have the same assessment in 2020. 

Effective immediately, the Board approved allowing all acres in the RRWCD be eligible for the EQIP program, which is administered through the NRCS. Anyone interested in more information on the EQIP program should contact your local NRCS office. 

Former Senator Greg Brophy gave a presentation on House Bill 19-1327, which is now Proposition DD, to put sports betting on the ballot. The goal of this legislation is to provide a stable funding source to implement the Colorado Water Plan. 

The RRWCD approved conservation grant applications from Marks Butte, Frenchman, Sandhills and Central Yuma Groundwater Management Districts (Big 4 GWMDS). The Big 4 GWMDs requested that the grant funds be forwarded to the Colorado Master Irrigator program. 

The Board also approved the conservation grant application by W-Y GWMD, requesting funds that will assist in covering costs for implementing conservation efforts in their district. 

The RRWCD endorsed an agreement for well owners in the northern portion of the district who have augmentation plans to the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District or to Sedgwick Water District. 

Well owners located in the South Fork Focus Zone who enter into a new CREP contract are now eligible for an additional one-time payment of $200 per irrigated acre retired. The two million dollars of funding for the supplemental contract is provided by the State of Colorado. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Deb Daniel, RRWCD General Manager (970)332- 3552. 

RRWCD Boundary to Change

RRWCD Boundary to Change

House Bill 19-1029 passed the Colorado legislature and was signed into law by Governor Polis on April 16, 2019. It will become effective on August 2, 2019. The bill will modify the boundary of the Republican River Water Conservation District (RRWCD). 

On September 17, 2003, Special Master Vincent McKusick signed the Final Report of the Special Master with the Adoption of RRCA Groundwater Model, which included a map of the Republican River Groundwater Model Domain. 

On August 4, 2004, Senate Bill 04-235 created the RRWCD to assist Colorado in complying with the Republican River Compact which was signed in 1942. The compact between Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska apportioned the waters of the Republican River Basin among the three States. 

The boundary of the RRWCD was set by SB04-235 using the topographic boundary of the Basin. The original RRWCD boundary did not match the boundary of the Republican River Groundwater Model Domain, which includes all land in the High Plains Aquifer that was in hydrologic connection with the Republican River. HB19-1029 modifies the boundary so that all wells that affect the groundwater covered by the compact model will be included in the RRWCD. 

The change in the boundary will bring approximately 332 wells and the associated irrigated acreage into the RRWCD. The annual diversions from these wells has always been included in the groundwater model which tracks the use of water within each state, from which the depletions to the river are calculated. 

The use of these additional wells has contributed to the depletion of the Ogallala, but because they were not been included in the RRWCD boundary, they have not paid the Water Use Fee as have the well owners that are located in the current RRWCD boundary. 

The RRWCD will be contacting these well owners and the county assessors in Cheyenne and Kit Carson counties to notify these individuals that they are now being included in the RRWCD Water Use Fee tax roll. 

After the Bill goes into effect, the Cheyenne County Commissioners and the East Cheyenne Groundwater Management District (ECGWMD) will appoint a landowner who lives within their area and within the RRWCD boundary, who will represent their organization on the RRWCD Board. The new Board members will be sworn-in at the beginning of the November meeting. 

Additionally, HB19-1029 changes the date of the RRWCD Board meetings to the third Tuesday of February, May, August and November. The bill also includes a change to the requirement to be an RRWCD Board member to include an owner of real property that is within a county that lies within the boundaries of the ground water management district from which the director is appointed. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Deb Daniel, RRWCD General Manager (970)332-3552. 

The RRWCD Purchases Several Surface Water Rights

The RRWCD Purchases Several Surface Water Rights

In an effort to increase the surface water flows in the Republican River system, the Republican River Water Conservation District has recently purchased and leased multiple surface water rights on both the North Fork and South Fork Republican Rivers. 

By keeping the surface water in the river, the RRWCD is greatly enhancing the ability of the State of Colorado to stay in compliance with the Republican River Compact. Due to the extensive efforts of the RRWCD and the Colorado State Engineer’s office, Colorado will be in compliance with the Compact in 2019. 

This will be the first year since the Final Settlement Stipulation was signed in 2002, that Colorado will be in compact compliance. 

In the Annual Compact accounting 60% of all surface diversions are treated as depletions to the flows of the rivers and those depletions must be replaced through the Compact Compliance Pipeline. This requires considerably more water than off-setting comparable groundwater pumping. 

Last week, the RRWCD purchased the Hayes Creek Ditch and the Hayes Creek Ditch #3 surface water rights on a tributary of the North Fork Republican River. Some of these water rights were diverted each year, and the RRWCD was required to off-set those diversions with additional pumping from the compact compliance pipeline. 

The RRWCD also purchased and leased a total of 27.5 cubic feet per second of surface water rights formerly owned by the Hutton Foundation Trust. 

Significant diversions on the South Fork have impacted Colorado’s efforts to come in to compliance with the Compact. As part of the Compact accounting there are tests for State Wide compliance and tests for each sub-basin. When calculating the sub-basin non-impairment test, additional diversions on the South Fork can contribute to a failure to meet the Compact non- compliance. By purchasing the surface water rights, the RRWCD can insure that the water will stay in the stream and will be measured at the state-line gage and again at the compact gage near Benkelman, NE. 

After years of legal conflict, all entities can stop litigation because by purchasing these surface water rights, all legal actions by the Hutton Foundation Trust or by CPW, Inc. will be terminated. 

By purchasing the South Fork surface water rights, the RRWCD will not have to operate the Compact Compliance pipeline an additional 17 days that would be required to off-set the amount of water these rights would otherwise be entitled to divert. 

The Republican River Compact Administration (RRCA) has approved the operation and accounting for the Compact Compliance Pipeline. As part of getting this approval, Colorado agreed to voluntarily retire up to 25,000 acres in the South Fork Focus Zone (SFFZ) by 2029. Colorado is pursuing 10,000 retired irrigated acres in the SFFZ by 2024 and an additional 15,000 retired irrigated acres by 2029. 

Drying up the acres formerly irrigated by these surface water rights will contribute to the total of retired irrigated acres in the SFFZ, but Colorado is still far from the 10,000 acres to be retired by 2024. 

The RRWCD continues to offer supplemental contracts for CREP and for EQIP conservation programs. The District offers increased annual payments for acres retired in the South Fork Focus Zone. 

Currently the FSA, NRCS, the State of Colorado and the RRWCD are waiting for the USDA to publish the Rules and Regulations for the 2018 Farm Bill. As soon as the rules and regulations are published, producers can start applying for these conservation programs. 

The consensus of the RRWCD Board is that by completing these purchases, it improves the ability to secure compact compliance now and into the future. 

The RRWCD also approved a Water Use Fee Policy during the quarterly Board meeting on April 25th in Yuma. The Water Use Fee Policy includes a fee for junior surface water right diversions, and it modifies the annual fee for municipal and commercial wells. A copy of the fee policy is available on the RRWCD website at www.republicanriver.com

If you have any questions please contact Rod Lenz, RRWCD President, 970-630-3265, Deb Daniel, RRWCD General Manager, 970-332-3552 or contact any RRWCD Board member.

Atarim

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