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City Council and Opposers Reach Settlement
on Conditional Water Storage Rights on Maroon and Castle Creeks
Aspen City Council has reached settlement agreements with all opposers to
Aspen’s two pending water court cases regarding its conditional storage rights
on Castle and Maroon Creeks. The settlement stipulations are a result of
negotiations between the City and all parties over the proposed sites of the
future reservoirs. The next steps will
be obtaining water court approval of the stipulations and entry of decrees
continuing the conditional water rights for another six-year period.
is a great example illustrating that collaboration and working toward common goals
created 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 you
begin a process at opposite ends of the spectrum and end the process in
agreement. This is a big win for our
this process, the City’s primary concern, in concert with its commitment to
environmental values, has been to safeguard its water storage rights to meet
the needs of its water customers with a sufficient, legal, and reliable water
supply, now and into the future, despite future risks and uncertainty, most
notably from climate change.
the 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 an
agreement with the final opposing party.
the 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 protected
while also providing environmental protections for these delicate areas.
City of Aspen has always had the interest of its water customers and community in the forefront of its
goals to ensure Aspen could deliver adequate and safe water to its residents
and visitors,” said Mayor Steve Skadron.
process, 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 to
safeguard our future water storage needs while also collaborating to protect
sensitive wilderness areas,” he added.
accordance 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 not
in wilderness areas. The new storage
locations include City-owned land in the Woody Creek area, the Aspen Golf
Course, 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 the
current cases. In addition, Aspen has agreed to limit the total amount diverted
annually to storage to a total of 8,500 acre-feet.
has held its conditional water storage rights on Maroon Creek and Castle Creek
since 1965. Over decades, Aspen City
Council has protected its water storage rights in order to be responsible
stewards of the water supply needed for Aspen’s utility customers, now and into
the future. In 2016, as required by
law, Aspen filed applications with the Division 5 Water Court to continue these
conditional water storage rights for another six-year period. A total of ten parties filed statements of
opposition to one or both applications.
the stipulations have been approved and the decrees entered in the current cases,
Aspen can begin planning and engineering work and developing a water court
application to change the location of the storage rights to one or more of the
new sites outside of the Wilderness Area.