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Posted on: October 16, 2018

City Council and Opposers Reach Settlement on Conditional Water Storage Rights

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PRESS RELEASE 

 

City Council and Opposers Reach Settlement
on Conditional Water Storage Rights on Maroon and Castle Creeks

 

TheAspen City Council has reached settlement agreements with all opposers to
Aspen’s two pending water court cases regarding its conditional storage rightson Castle and Maroon Creeks. The settlement stipulations are a result of
negotiations between the City and all parties over the proposed sites of thefuture reservoirs.  The next steps will
be obtaining water court approval of the stipulations and entry of decreescontinuing the conditional water rights for another six-year period. 

 

“This
is a great example illustrating that collaboration and working toward common goalscreated a water storage solution that is better for all parties involved,” said
Margaret Medellin, City of Aspen Utilities Portfolio Manager.  “There is great reason to celebrate when youbegin a process at opposite ends of the spectrum and end the process in
agreement.  This is a big win for ourcommunity.”

 

Throughout
this process, the City’s primary concern, in concert with its commitment toenvironmental values, has been to safeguard its water storage rights to meet
the needs of its water customers with a sufficient, legal, and reliable watersupply, now and into the future, despite future risks and uncertainty, most
notably from climate change.

 

Overthe last few months the City of Aspen reached agreements with opposers
including Wilderness Workshop, Western Resource Advocates, American Rivers,Trout Unlimited, Pitkin County, the U.S. Forest Service and private land
owners.  Last week, the City reached anagreement with the final opposing party. 

 

Forthe last year and a half, the City has been working with these parties to find
a suitable resolution where the City’s water storage rights would be protectedwhile also providing environmental protections for these delicate areas.  

“The
City of Aspen has always had the interest of its water customers and community 
in the forefront of itsgoals to ensure Aspen could deliver adequate and safe water to its residents
and visitors,” said Mayor Steve Skadron.

 

“Throughout thisprocess, City Council was acting in the best interest of its current and future
water customers as part of prudent water management. I am proud we were able tosafeguard our future water storage needs while also collaborating to protect
sensitive wilderness areas,” he added.

 

Inaccordance with the stipulations, Aspen will file a water court application to
transfer both of its water storage rights to one or more locations that are notin wilderness areas.  The new storage
locations include City-owned land in the Woody Creek area, the Aspen GolfCourse, Cozy Point Ranch, Zoline Open Space, Vagneur Gravel Quarry and/or any
other location agreed to in writing by the City and the parties opposing thecurrent cases. In addition, Aspen has agreed to limit the total amount diverted
annually to storage to a total of 8,500 acre-feet.

 

Aspenhas held its conditional water storage rights on Maroon Creek and Castle Creek
since 1965.  Over decades, Aspen CityCouncil has protected its water storage rights in order to be responsible
stewards of the water supply needed for Aspen’s utility customers, now and intothe future.   In 2016, as required by
law, Aspen filed applications with the Division 5 Water Court to continue theseconditional water storage rights for another six-year period.  A total of ten parties filed statements of
opposition to one or both applications.  

 

Afterthe stipulations have been approved and the decrees entered in the current cases,
Aspen can begin planning and engineering work and developing a water courtapplication to change the location of the storage rights to one or more of the
new sites outside of the Wilderness Area. 

 

 

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Posted on: October 2, 2018

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Click here for these fact sheets: 2B- Charter Amendment for Enterprise Fund Bonding; 2C - Charter Amendment for Franchise Agreements; 2D - City Office Space Location

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