WATER: May 13, 2015

Questions regarding the S. Platte River


1) 2005/2006 Lower end (junior) of S. Platte River claimed, "upper end (senior) took our water, caused depletions, now we don't have any water." Regardless the fact lower end did not have to prove harm, Judge Roger Klein still ordered upper end: shut down wells (deny senior owners use of their property); augment at 100% (unattainable); make up for past depletions going back to 1975 (Where were water engineers during that 30 year time span?).
2) 2005/2006 Governor Owens apparently "found" enough water to commit to NE.
How and where did Governor Owens find water the lower end claimed didn't exist?
3) The 5 page PRRIP agreement commits states assets, "water," and indebted (financial commitment) without a vote of the citizenry. Did states bypass their general assemblies?
4) Because CO does not have water (to send NE), why not withdraw from PRRIP? CO apparently "looses" thousands of acre feet water across the border to NE, why isn't this water used to fulfill PRRIP demand instead of CO's having to meet the financial commitment for non-delivery?
5) Even though the PRRIP is the gorilla in the middle of the room, it is never included in any water meeting discussions or the "statewide" water plan. Why?
6) Where may water owners review funding receipts and expenditures of the PRRIP?
7) Can Colorado provide the compact between the lower and upper end of the S. Platte wherein it's apparently declared the upper end committed X acre feet water to the lower end? If one exists, why wasn't it structured as forgiving as the 1923 NE/CO compact (based on 1897 flow rates/precip and snowpack)?
8) Because flow charts show S. Platte River historically dried up around Kersey, CO (depending on snow pack/precip), will lower end provide their dates of appropriation and allotment quantity?
9) Have upper end senior owners been justly compensated for takings (denied use of their water)?

Side note: Check pages 101 to 110 of the attached document: Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming agree that water is worth $800 to $1800 per acre feet for 13 years, and dam storage feet of $5 per acre feet...

Since the following questions, May 9th/10th/11th we faced another flood. Not the magnitude of 2013, but none the less it backed up in part due to: over hydration of upper end, Hwy 85 bridge and Latham ditch blockage and lack of maintenance on the North side of the S. Platte (directly across from Sylvester Farm). Residents, including Fred Stencil and Ramon and Olga Salazar, and the towns of Gilcrest and Evans were significantly impact...again.

One solution: If the lower end needs "relief," please consider building a concrete sided ditch (either in the meridian or barrel pit) along I-76. The river is an inefficient way to move water. Concrete sided ditch would provide the benefits of: Naturally eradicating phreatophytes, creating jobs, reducing evaporation and catch rainfall. After the senior upper end's allotment quantities are fulfilled, whatever's left could be moved to the lower end via ditch.

Thank you,

Roni Bell Sylvester
(970) 284-6874

Questions sent May 5, 2015

1) Whose water right are you talking about? It's imperative this be addressed, for to date, misleading, incorrect information is used in most news reports.
A student of Dr. Reagan Waskom's developed a "Date of Appropriation" overlay on the development of water on the S. Platte. We recommend this be shown at the onset of each meeting, to more properly identify water rights.
2) WAS case lacked defined plaintiffs and defendant's. Attorney Akolt represented all in spite of requests to Judge Roger Klein for Akolt's withdrawal from at least 1 side.
Lower end (east of Kersey) claimed upper end (west of Kersey) used up their water (depletions), but didn't have to prove harm. Klein ordered shut down of wells, 100% augmentation (which is hydrologically unattainable), and makeup of past depletions to 1975.
Questions: Where were the water engineers for the years between 2005 and 1975? Aren't they supposed to "manage" the water? Did they avert their eyes for 30 years while senior (upper end) users allegedly "overused" this significant amount of water?
3) Why don't the state engineers do the job the statutes require them to do?
4) The 5 page 2006 PRRIP agreement with Governor's Freudenthal (WY) and Heineman (NE), DOI Secretary Kempthorne and Governor Owens committed water and money to alleged endangered species in Lexington, NE.
When the lower end complained (during that same time period), "we don't have any water," where and how did Owens find water to meet with that commitment?
5) In-stream flow manipulations contribute to the loss of thousands of acre feet water over the CO-NE border. Yet John Stulp informed us, "Because we sometimes can't meet our water commitment to the PRRIP, we have to make up for it with the financial. Who makes up the PRRIP governance committee? Is there a PRRIP water and financial audit available?
6) Does the lower end have a compact with the upper end to mandatorily deliver X acre feet to them? If not, how did it come to be their water delivery demands now supersede the Senior upper end rights? Particularly when historically, there wasn't water in the river?
7) Does state intend to justly compensate the upper end Senior water right owners for *takings?
8) Will state compensate the Town of Gilcrest for state's participation in allowing the over hydration of the upper end to the extent of raising the water table from its historic approximate 20 feet to 2 feet and surfacing - which destroyed Gilcrest's waste water treatment plant.
9) Because Reuter-Hess Reservoir is built on a hill with claims, "we'll fill with runoff," how is it said runoff now appears in the form of an approximate 27 acre feet daily? It's been heard that Bob Lembke and Bill Owens might be peeling off S. Platte water and circuitously piping it - perhaps to Parker Water/Reuter-Hess?
10) How can James Eklund develop a Colorado Water Plan and exclude the PRRIP and other major elements that are controlling our water?

It's common knowledge that Klein's shut down of wells overhydrated the upper end wherein the lower end now uses this over surplus of water to successfully develop an underground reservoir (in the upper end) from which they use this new non-historic perennial flow to build ponds, divert, retime and sell (perhaps to the power plant, federal, Lembke, Owens, pop new pivots?).

Thousands of acre feet allegedly are "wasted" (lost) across the border to NE, yet no one's actually seen said water across the border in Nebraska. Maybe that's why Stulp's claim about the financial commitment?
Upon hearing about said waste, Jim Jahn said, "Yeh, and we're getting all the water you guys on the upper end waste! And I live on the CO NE border!"

I responded, "First off, the upper end doesn't have any water to waste! And if the upper end wasn't denied use of its water, there wouldn't be any water flowing past your place."

He responded, "It wouldn't make any difference at all."

My immediate unspoken thought? Jahn, you completely dashed the entire WAS argument!

I'll stop here. There are many more questions we'd appreciate media asking each person they interview; beginning with the most important question of all: "Whose water right is it?" Followed by, "Are state engineers doing the job the statutes require them to do?"

The Hwy 85 bridge south of Greeley is another story. For now, please know that because the S. Platte falls outside the defines of "navigable," the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers have no authority over it. Is this why the Army Corps has never maintained it? Governor Hickenlooper should, at-the-least, give the EPA and Army Corps the boot when conjoining private property owners get out their excavators.

Bob Longenbaugh, hydrological engineer, has over a 50 year history of studying, teaching and managing water in CO. He's partisan and dedicated to the science only! We urge you to contact him. (970) 209-9297

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