Whitewater park limits win important endorsements | VailDaily.com

Whitewater park limits win important endorsements

Dennis Webb

State Sen. Jack Taylor’s bill to limit water diversions for whitewater parks won support in Denver and Glenwood Springs Wednesday.The Colorado Water Conservation Board, meeting at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood, endorsed Taylor’s bill in an amended form. Meanwhile, the Colorado House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee approved it on an 8-2 vote.Taylor, the Steamboat Springs Republican who also represents Eagle County, has in promoting his bill encountered heavy opposition from communities seeking to boost their economies through the creation of whitewater parks.His bill would limit water diversions for whitewater parks to 350 cubic feet per second, and in some cases less. The water conservation board’s decision Wednesday came as little surprise, as the bill’s restrictions are consistent with the board’s policy.Ted Kowalski, an attorney for the water board, said the bill will help the board interpret a 2001 bill that allows recreational diversions.The board has held four hearings so far on diversions, in cases involving Gunnison, Steamboat Springs, Longmont and Pueblo. When a water court granted a recreational water right in the Gunnison case, the water board appealed. The state Supreme Court sent the case back to the water court, finding that both that court and the water board had erred in their handling of the case.Kowalski testified before the House agriculture committee this week that Taylor’s bill establishing flow limits “will prevent expensive litigation, and more importantly, will provide an objective limitation that the applicants often refuse to recognize in their applications for water rights.”Vail, Colorado

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