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Update on Division 3 ground water rules and regulations

March 14, 2013

The Colorado State Engineer has recently updated the status of rules and regulations for use of wells in Water Division No. 3 (Rio Grande Basin).  Currently, the Colorado Division of Water Resources is updating the Rio Grande Decision Support System, which is the ground water model used to determine how much water from well pumping in various areas of the San Luis Valley must be replaced to prevent injury to senior surface rights.  The update of the Rio Grande Decision Support System is anticipated to be completed in April.  Once the update is complete, the ground water rules advisory committee will begin meeting again to complete the rules and regulations.  Once the rules and regulations are completed, they must be submitted to the Water Division No. 3 Water Court for final adoption.  At that time, opposers will have the opportunity to oppose adoption of the rules.  Once the rules are adopted by the water court, well users in the San Luis Valley must either replace depletions from their wells through a court-approved augmentation plan or substitute water supply plan, or in the alternative, enroll their well in a sub-district of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District that will replace the well depletions.  The first-subdistrict has been approved to replace depletions from wells in the Closed Basin portion of the San Luis Valley, and subsequent sub-districts covering other areas of the Valley are currently in the process of formation.  Read the Alamosa Valley Courier article here.