Arkansas River conduit wins approval

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Pueblo Reservoir: Source for the conduit.
  • Pueblo Reservoir: Source for the conduit.
The Bureau of Reclamation signed the Record of Decision today for a project that's been in the planning stages since Pueblo Dam was built in the 1960s.

Part of the Frying Pan-Arkansas project, the conduit has never been built due to lack of money.

U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, Democrats of Colorado, issued a news release after the ROD was signed, which follows approval of an Environmental Impact Study last year.

The conduit is designed to deliver higher quality water through the Arkansas Valley from Pueblo Reservoir. Now, communities receive water from the reservoir from the Arkansas River.

Here's a news release about the approval:
“Colorado knows well that water is an extremely precious resource, and the Arkansas Valley Conduit will help ensure families in southeastern Colorado have access to a safe and healthy water supply,” Bennet said. “Today’s announcement couldn’t be more important to southeast Colorado, and it demonstrates the Interior Department’s commitment to getting this project done. With today’s announcement, we are one step closer to completing this historic conduit that will benefit many future generations of Coloradans.”

“I am proud the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation heeded my calls and quickly approved the Arkansas Valley Conduit. This project, the final component of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, will help strengthen Colorado's agricultural economy, our quality of life and rural communities throughout southeastern Colorado,” Udall said. “Water is our most valuable resource in Colorado, and we need to make every drop count. This project will ensure we continue to smartly develop our water resources.”

Bennet and Udall have led efforts to secure resources and move forward with the construction of the Conduit. In addition to advocating for quick approval of the EIS, the senators have written to the Department of Interior to provide adequate resources for construction of the Conduit in future federal budgets.

The Arkansas Valley Conduit is the final component of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, a water diversion and storage project in the lower Arkansas Valley. Once constructed, the Conduit will deliver clean drinking water to families, producers and municipalities throughout Southeastern Colorado. Bennet and Udall worked together to enact legislation in 2009 authorizing the construction of the Conduit, and have pushed ever since for funding to keep the project on schedule. 

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