Colorado Springs to appeal Pueblo water ruling

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In this month’s Reed Construction Data report about the Rocky Mountain region, comes news that Colorado Springs Utilities is ready to appeal a November water line ruling of Pueblo District Court Judge Dennis Maes to the Colorado Court of Appeals.

CSU plans to build a $1 billion pipeline to carry water from Pueblo Reservoir up to Colorado Springs, increasing the city’s water supply by a third.

During November, Judge Maes ruled against the utility’s contention that it shouldn’t have to follow Pueblo County’s land development regulations in constructing the pipeline.

CSU has subsequently sought clarification of the ruling, and on Dec. 30, Maes said he views Pueblo County’s powers under the development rules as being “very broad – enough to include the storage of water in Pueblo Reservoir and the regulation of discharges and return flows originating outside the county.”

Based on the clarification, CSU is moving ahead with its appeal. The Bureau of Reclamation is expected to release a preliminary environmental impact statement on the pipeline project in February or March. The review will indicate which of seven alternative routes the federal government prefers. After a public comment period, the final environmental assessment will be released in 2009.