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Arkansas Valley Conduit

Description

The Arkansas Valley Conduit (AVC) is a 130-mile pipeline with spurs that would serve as many as 40 communities and 50,000 people east of Pueblo. It will deliver filtered water ready for treatment from Pueblo Reservoir. The AVC will supplement existing water supplies, which face state compliance issues because of salinity or radionuclide contamination. Most of the participants rely on groundwater, and are in need of a reliable supply of fresh water. 

History

The cities of the Lower Arkansas Valley in Colorado have awaited the construction of the AVC for decades. The AVC was authorized by Congress as part of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project in 1962. It never was built largely because of the inability of participants to repay construction costs. In 2009, Congress amended the original Fry-Ark legislation. The amendment featured a cost-sharing plan with 65 percent federal and 35 percent local funding. The locally funded portion will be repaid by the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District (District) to the federal government over a period of 50 years.   

Milestones:   

June 29, 2020 -The Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District applauded state approval of a $100 million financing package for the Arkansas Valley Conduit that will allow construction to begin in the near future.

The Colorado General Assembly passed the annual Colorado Water Conservation project bill which contains the funding earlier this month, and Governor Jared Polis signed the bill into law on Monday, June 29, 2020. 

“The Arkansas Valley Conduit will be a lifeline for the Lower Arkansas Valley for generations to come,” said Bill Long, President of the Southeastern District. “Governor Polis, the General Assembly and the CWCB have all shown vision and foresight with this support of the AVC. This goes beyond just financing a pipeline, because really it’s an investment to assure clean drinking water for the future.” 

Long also noted the strong bipartisan support the AVC enjoys from the entire Colorado congressional delegation, and noted in particular the leadership of Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet, and Congressmen Scott Tipton and Ken Buck. 

“I want to thank the CWCB board and staff for including this funding in their annual bill, and express our sincere gratitude to the legislators from the Arkansas Basin for their leadership and support,” said Kevin Karney, chairman of the District’s AVC committee.  “The recognition by the State of Colorado of the benefit of partnering with the Bureau of Reclamation on this project is an enormous boost.” 

The AVC is estimated to cost between $564 million and $610 million to complete over a 15-year period. The $100 million in state funding would include $90 million in loans and $10 million in grants over the life of the project. When complete, the AVC will provide clean drinking water to 50,000 people in 40 communities. 

The AVC had received funding since 2010 to prepare for construction of the 130-mile pipeline which will deliver a safe drinking water supply to the Lower Arkansas Valley.  In February of this year, the Bureau of Reclamation announced that $28 million of FY ’20 funding was being directed to the conduit, in an effort to move from planning and design into construction.  An additional $8 million has been requested for FY ’21 and is under consideration by Congress. 

“The unanimous approval of this funding package by the CWCB board last November was the absolute catalyst for an improved federal funding picture,” said Southeastern District Executive Director Jim Broderick.  “Colorado, like other Western states, recognizes developing a strong partnership with Reclamation allows us to overcome water quality and water supply challenges in rural areas.”

Regional Water Conservation Plan

2020 - Arkansas Valley Conduit gets additional Federal Funding -The Arkansas Valley Conduit is in line to get an additional $8.05 million in fiscal year 2021, if Congress approves President Trump’s proposed budget, which was released Monday, February 10, 2020.

2020 - Arkansas Valley Conduit gains federal funding - The Arkansas Valley Conduit received $28 million in federal funding to finish design and begin construction of the long-awaited pipeline.

2019 – CWCB approves $100 Million for AVC 

2014 – Reclamation issued a Record of Decision for the AVC, which established a route (Comanche North) and scope of work for the project. 

2013 – The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) completed a Final Environmental Impact Statement for the AVC.

2013—Regional Water Conservation Plan in Support of Arkansas Valley Conduit and Related Projects completed by the District.

2009 – P.L. 111-11 passed, allowing miscellaneous revenues (excess-capacity contract payments) from the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project to be applied to AVC construction and repayment. These payments will be available beginning in 2022 and initially total about $3 million annually, increasing in future years as contract payments rise.                             

AVC Progress Report

CDM Smith, under a contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, completed a study of Regionalization for theAVC with the goal of providing interim solutions for AVC participants until the AVC can be completed. The Final Report of Phase 1 provided alternatives with the goal of addressing Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment drinking water enforcement orders, while CDM Smith Studyfollowing the alignment of the AVC east of Pueblo as closely as possible.

Meanwhile, Reclamation has endorsed the “New Concept,” proposal made by the District in 2017, which eliminates the need to build a pipeline around Pueblo by using the capacity in Pueblo Water’s system to deliver AVC water at a point east of the Pueblo Memorial Airport. In 2019, Reclamation initiated a Value Planning workshop to study efficiencies along the entire route, with the goal of addressing federal concerns, and improving chances for federal appropriations. 

 

  

Pueblo County

  • Town of Boone
  • St. Charles Mesa Water District

Crowley County

  • 96 Pipeline Company
  • Crowley County Water Association
  • Town of Crowley
  • Town of Olney Springs
  • Town of Ordway
  • Town of Sugar City

Bent County

  • Hasty Water Company
  • City of Las Animas
  • McClave Water Association

Prowers County

  • City of Lamar
  • May Valley Water Association
  • Town of Wiley

Kiowa County 

  • Town of Eads

Otero County 

  • Beehive Water Association

  • Bents Fort Water Company

  • Town of Cheraw

  • East End Water Association

  • Eureka Water Company

  • Fayette Water Association

  • Town of Fowler

  • Hancock Incorporated (now part of Rocky Ford)

  • Hilltop Water Company

  • Holbrook Center Soft Water

  • Homestead Improvement Association

  • City of La Junta

  • Town of Manzanola

  • Newdale-Grand Valley North Holbrook Water

  • Patterson Valley

  • Riverside Water Company

  • City of Rocky Ford

  • South Side Water Association

  • South Swink Water Company

  • Town of Swink

  • Valley Water Company

  • Vroman Water Company

  • West Grand Valley Water

  • West Holbrook Water

 

Click Here for the Final Enviormental Impact Statement

For more information: United States Bureau of Reclamation