One of the many benefits of water markets is their ability to rapidly adapt to changes on short notice. Enter the Colorado Water Trust (CWT) and their implementation of “REQUEST FOR WATER 2012.” Faced with a 38% of average snowpack, this Denver-based nonprofit is actively pursuing short-term instream flow leases in priority basins. I’m obviously a fan of this market response to an anticipated water challenge and had the chance to ask CWT Executive Director, Amy Beatie, a couple of quick questions. Questions and answers are as follows:
1. It appears the Engineer must approve each loan, do you know how long this approval process will take? THE STATUTE DOESN’T PROVIDE TIMEFRAMES FOR SOME ACTIONS, SO WE DON’T EXACTLY KNOW. WE HAVE WORKED VERY CLOSELY WITH THE STATE ON THIS, THEY KNOW LEASES ARE COMING, AND THEY KNOW, AND APPRECIATE, THAT THE IDEA IS TO GET WATER QUICKLY INTO RIVERS. SO, WHILE THERE ARE NO DEADLINES, THEY ARE PREPARED TO MOVE FAST AND SO ARE WE.
2. At 38%snowpack how will CWT ensure they are targeting water rights that won’t be called by senior users? WE’VE ASKED IN THE INITIAL OFFER FORM FOR THE WATER USER TO LET US KNOW IF THEY HAD WATER AVAILABLE IN 2002. THAT’S THE BEST WAY FOR US TO DETERMINE WITHOUT MORE ANALYSIS IF THE WATER RIGHT WILL HAVE WATER AVAILABLE THIS YEAR. IF WE HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT AN OFFERED WATER RIGHT’S RELIABILITY, WE HAVE ALSO BUILT A TEAM OF TECHNICAL EXPERTS (CONTRACTORS AND VOLUNTEER ENGINEERS AND HYDROLOGISTS) TO HELP US PROCESS THE OFFERS, SO THAT WE DON’T LEASE “PAPER WATER.” THEY ARE ALL ON CALL FOR TWO WEEKS STARTING ON MONDAY, MAY 14 RIGHT AFTER THE INITIAL OFFER FORM SUBMISSION DEADLINE TO HELP US PROCESS THE TECHNICAL ELEMENTS OF THE OFFERS FOR LEASES.
3. What is the ultimate goal for this request in CFS or AF? NONE. WE ARE STILL RAISING THE MONEY SO WE WILL LEASE AS MUCH WATER AS WE HAVE MONEY TO, AS LONG AS THE WATER OFFERED MEETS THE STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS. BEFORE WE PUT OUR REQUEST FOR WATER OUT, WE THOUGHT MAYBE TWO OR THREE LEASES WOULD BE A SUCCESS. WE’RE THERE ALREADY SO WE WOULD CONSIDER THIS A SUCCESS NOW IF WE COULD, SAY, ENTER INTO ONE IN EVERY BASIN? WE DON’T KNOW. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME WE’VE DONE ANYTHING LIKE THIS. MAYBE THE NEXT TIME WE’LL HAVE A GOAL. WE JUST WANT THE PROGRAM TO BE AS SUCCESSFUL AS POSSIBLE THIS SUMMER.