Water Deal, Benefit or Drawback?

Karl Nyquist

How can taking water off the land be good for the agricultural economy in Prowers County and southeast Colorado? That was the question Karl Nyquist of GP Resources, LLC attempted to answer during a Q & A session at the Lamar Community Building Tuesday night, August 16.

Nyquist told a full house, including city and county representatives, other water owners and concerned citizens, that the plans would result in a win-win scenario for this region and water hungry sections of the Front Range which account for 80% of the state’s population, but has access to only 20% of local water sources. GP Group now owns 40% of Lamar Canal water, as well as 1100-1200 LAWMA water shares and some water interests in Granada Irrigation. Nyquist intends to transfer 10,000 acre feet of water a year through a 150 mile pipeline running northwest from Prowers County to Kiowa, Cheyenne, Lincoln and El Paso Counties. The treatment plant will be in Lamar at West Farms. The move will dry up 4,000 acres of land owned by GP Resources of which 2,000 acres will be re-irrigated and the rest dry-land farmed. Eleven pumping stations will move the treated water up the pipeline mostly through an abandoned gas line purchased by the group. Nyquist said that will help with right of way and easement concerns.

A major concern is getting a change of use declaration from the state water courts, and getting the Prowers County Commissioners to sign off an a 1041 regulation which pertains to revegetation practices when farm land is dried up. Jillane Hixson, a local landowner asked how Nyquist can legally move water from the other side of John Martin Dam to the Front Range. Nyquist said his lawyers claim that they can show there is no injury to other parties by the move or increased depletion from that water change. He said all he’s doing is taking and using the water which rightfully belongs to him and the GP Group. That’s a similar answer he gave to Lamar farmer Marvin Gruenloh when he asked about the impact on junior water rights owners. Nyquist said he anticipates anywhere from seven to 10 years to get the legal issues resolved and intends to see the treatment plant in operation by 2021. Nyquist has said in the past that he doesn’t intend to sell the water to oil or gas companies developing wells along the Front Range. During the Tuesday night meeting, Nyquist did not say if he had already secured contracts with the Elbert County district for any specific use or amount of water to be sold. He did estimate a cost at around $6 to $7 per thousand gallons.

He said the area will benefit from economic diversity from the treatment plant, creating from 400 to 500 jobs in the construction phase and he estimated there’d be 63 permanent jobs at the treatment plant and seven full-time jobs working the gravel pit owned by GP Resources. He did not say if all those jobs would be based in Prowers County or if they would be sectioned out along the 150 mile long pipeline. The treatment plant will use deep well injection under the local aquifer to dispose of the brine and residue once the water has been treated. Nyquist said an evaporation lagoon is also a possibility. GP Resources intends to have their case filed before the water court by the first quarter of 2012. Another presentation on GP Resources’ plans will be held at the Lamar Community Building next Tuesday, August 23.

Editor’s Note:  The Prowers Journal newsletter incorrectly identified Marvin Gruenloh as Don Turner.  We apologize for the mix up.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: AgricultureBusinessCityCommissionerscommunityCountyEconomyEmploymentEnergyFeaturedGranadaHollyLamarThe Journal AlertUtilitiesWiley


About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.