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I_WRRC_2021A 10/27/2021 09:06:43 AM Committee Summary

PUBLIC
STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING
INTERIM COMMITTEE  WATER RESOURCES REVIEW COMMITTEE
Date 10/27/2021
Attendance
Bridges X
Catlin X
Coram X
Jaquez Lewis X
McCormick *
McKean *
Roberts X
Sonnenberg X
McLachlan X
Donovan X
Time 09:06:43 AM to 03:43:08 PM
Place SCR 357
This Meeting was called to order by Donovan
This Report was prepared by Alexa Kelly
Hearing Items Action Taken
Presentation on Alternative Transfer Methods Committee Discussion Only
Water Plan Update Committee Discussion Only
Presentation on Dredge and Fill and Waters of the United States Committee Discussion Only
Consideration of Letter to Economic Relief Task Force Committee Discussion Only
Final Consideration of Committee Legislation Approval of Draft Legislation

09:06:46 AM

The chair commenced the meeting and discussed the agenda for the day.



Presentation on Alternative Transfer Methods - Committee Discussion Only


09:08:42 AM  
Brett Bovee, Regional Director, WestWater Research, LLC, introduced the presentation (Attachment A).
09:17:38 AM  
Sarah Parmar, Director
of Conservation, Colorado Open Lands, introduced her presentation (Attachment
B). She spoke about conservation easements and how they are related to
alternative transfer methods (ATMs).  She spoke about how conservation
easements can be utilized to address Colorado's water challenges.
09:22:19 AM  

The committee asked about how conservation easements work with existing water rights.

09:27:02 AM  

Ms. Parmar discussed and example of what an existing conservation easement looks like. The committee asked about how the leasing of water rights and how water rights may decrease in some cases.

09:29:38 AM  

Ms. Parmar spoke about limiting groundwater pumping as a way to conserve water through conservation easements.

09:37:15 AM  

The committee asked about the flexibility of conservation easements and what the costs of that flexibility may be. Ms. Parmar told the committee about what appraisers will look at in terms of the value of the land and how a change in use would impact that value.

09:42:28 AM  

The committee asked about negotiating ATMs with nearby municipalities and ensuring that the value of water is maintained for those that own the existing water rights. Ms. Parmar discussed the different aspects of how to capture the present value of water and the future value of water for potential ATMs.

09:46:54 AM  
Committee members
asked about what type of research has been done about the risks of issuing
new taps on leased water.  Ms. Parmar told the committee that there
is no specific research that they have done related to this.  The
committee continued to ask about looking into how municipalities handle
water compared to agricultural communities.  Senator Simpson made
comments about water challenges in the San Luis Valley and how water leasing
is utilized in this area.  
09:54:55 AM  
The committee asked
about the difference between selling the water versus leasing the water.
 Ms. Parmar said there is some control that is left with the irrigator
when it is a lease agreement.  The committee asked about the different
types of buyers that may come in to purchase water rights and the effects
of selling to different buyers.  Ms. Parmar talked about how investors
can influence markets depending on where the investors are from.  
10:03:50 AM  

The committee continued to make comments and ask questions about buying and selling water rights.

10:06:23 AM  

Amber Pacheco, Program Manager, Rio Grande Water Conservation District, discussed the use of an ATM to have a more permanent solution to meet the water needs in the region. She talked about the potential creation of a water market through an ATM.

10:14:22 AM  
Senator Simpson spoke
about ATMs, past legislation related to the topic, and how water is shared
among agricultural and municipal uses through ATMs.
10:15:16 AM  

The committee asked about the effects of ATMs on existing water users. Ms. Pacheco spoke about how ATMs have to balance having enough water without causing injury to water users.

10:21:23 AM  
Ms. Pacheco discussed
the different ways a water agreement works to calculate any injury that
may have occurred to the water owner.



Water Plan Update - Committee Discussion Only


10:25:15 AM  
Lauren Ris, Deputy
Director, Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), introduced the presentation
on the Colorado Water Plan (Attachment C).  She reviewed the background
and mission of CWCB.  She discussed how CWCB implements the Colorado
Water Plan.
10:27:57 AM  
Russ Sands, Section
Chief of Water Supply Planning, CWCB, discussed how the Colorado Water
Plan (the plan) was created and how different groups contributed to the
creation of it.  He spoke about the individual Basin Implementation
Plans that make up the plan and where they are at in the planning process.
 He continued to speak about the goals and focal areas of the plan,
including vibrant communities, robust agriculture, thriving watersheds,
and resilient planning.      
10:34:07 AM  

He told the committee that the next draft of the plan should be released in June 2022. He spoke about the timeline that is set forth in statute for creating the plan.

10:40:48 AM  

Mr. Sands spoke about the upcoming "Year of Water" in 2022 and what his team will be doing over the next year to increase awareness of hte plan.

10:45:03 AM  

The committee made comments and asked about community engagement. Ms. Ris spoke about their plans to speak to individuals in the communities. She sought the committees comments about how they could do a better job at reaching their individual communities. Mr. Sands discussed how they are working to bring more people into discussions.

10:55:50 AM  
The committee made
comments and asked about the role of the state government in the creation
of the plan.  Mr. Sands told the committee about how they are tracking
the steps the legislature has put in place that his team has had to meet.
 Ms. Ris spoke about the grant programs that have been created allowing
for the implementation of the plan.  
10:59:12 AM  

The committee asked about how the plan has been impacted by old federal water projects in the state. Ms. Ris said they have not looked back at old projects from the original water plan.

11:03:22 AM  

The committee made comments about the importance of the plan and water users' reliance on CWCB and the State Engineer. Members made comments about the potential to include information about projects that have not been completed in the plan with the expectation that more federal dollars can be put towards water projects. Mr. Sands told the committee that they have something like this available to the public currently, but it is still being updated.



11:09:16 AM

The committee took a brief recess.



Presentation on Dredge and Fill and Waters of the United States - Committee Discussion Only


11:25:34 AM  

The committee reconvened.

11:27:05 AM  
Shaun McGrath, Director
of Environmental Health & Protection Services, Colorado Department
of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), introduced the presentation (Attachment
D).  He discussed how the department is involved in federal rulemaking
and the current status of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) definition.
 
11:33:25 AM  

Mr. McGrath talked about permits related to dredge and fill practices, and how CDPHE handles the permitting process.

11:38:30 AM  

The committee asked about the impact on wetlands. Mr. McGrath spoke about how they are tracking the impacts on wetlands.

11:41:11 AM  

The committee asked about the confusion over the WOTUS definition and the history of federal changes. Mr. McGrath told the committee about how confusion has developed over time with the different rules coming from the federal level.

11:46:49 AM  

The committee continued to ask about how CDPHE manages different types of streams and water from rainfall. Mr. McGrath told the committee about jurisdictional determination, which guide how certain waters fall under the WOTUS definition.

11:53:36 AM  
Nicole Rowan, Director,
Water Quality Control Division, CDPHE, provided more information about
how the definition is being applied to streams in Colorado.  Mr. McGrath
spoke about what is considered jurisdictional and the shifts in the definition
that has occurred over the last few presidential administrations.  
11:58:31 AM  

The committee asked about the change in water quality since the Clean Water Act and about CDPHE requests for legislation. Mr. McGrath told the committee that the department is not pursuing legislation on the topic at this time. He does think there could be something Colorado could do to make it so that the state could handle the changes at the federal level.

12:07:04 PM  

The committee asked about the future of the permitting process. Mr. McGrath told the committee that CDPHE is attempting to address potential needs for state gap waters. Ms. Rowan spoke about the future of environmental protection of the waters through a permitting process.

12:13:00 PM  

Mr. McGrath discussed where CDPHE would be involved in future legislation and federal rulemaking.

12:19:02 PM  

The committee discussed how the state can respond to different rules coming from the federal level going forward.

12:27:23 PM  

Michael Gifford, President, Associated General Contractors, spoke about his role in the permitting process as a general contractor.

12:30:15 PM  
Alex Funk, Director
of Water Resources and Senior Counsel, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation
Partnership (TRCP), introduced his presentation (Attachment E).  He
gave background about his organization and why clean water and watersheds
is important.
12:37:32 PM  
Mr. Funk spoke about
the TRCP National Survey and what the organization found out about the
stance of hunters and anglers when it comes to wetlands and headwater streams.
 He spoke about the other benefits of healthy headwater streams for
people and communities.
12:38:51 PM  
Mr. Funk discussed
the impacts of the Clean Water Act in Colorado and how United State Supreme
Court decisions have changed the the scope of the Clean Water Act over
the years.  He told the the committee about the most recent Navigable
Water Protection Rule when it comes to ephemeral and intermittent streams.
12:46:48 PM  

The committee asked about the definition of a stream related to the map shown on slides 8 and 9 of the presentation (Attachment D). Mr. Funk elaborated on how the streams are defined in the and where the current types of streams exist.

12:51:52 PM  

Mr. Funk spoke about the next steps when it comes to the rulemaking process and potential legislation.

12:57:04 PM  

Garret Varra, Varra Companies, spoke about the need to mine in certain areas and the need to have a robust process related to a permitting process.

01:01:58 PM  

Alex Schatz, Brannan Sand and Gravel Company, spoke about the rulemaking effort at the federal level and how the rules are implemented with the dredge and fill program. He told the committee about the impacts on current projects going on in Colorado.

01:06:52 PM  

The committee asked about fines related to permit violations. The panelists said they do not have concerns about fines at this time. Committee members continued to make comments about fines related to dredge and fill permit violations and the Clean Water Act. The panelists spoke about the different permits that they have to pull for different projects.

01:14:12 PM  

The committee made comments about how to protect water in Colorado and losing water in different regions.



01:20:53 PM
The committee took
a recess.



Consideration of Letter to Economic Relief Task Force - Committee Discussion Only


01:21:25 PM  

The committee reconvened.

01:51:25 PM  
Chair Donovan introduced
and spoke about the letter (Attachment F).  She described the purpose
of the letter, and the committee made comments about the contents of the
letter.  
01:54:27 PM  

The committee delayed voting on the letter until all committee members were present.



Final Consideration of Committee Legislation - Approval of Draft Legislation

01:55:03 PM  
Senator Coram discussed
Bill 1 - Groundwater Compact Compliance and Sustainability (Attachment
G) and spoke about the contents of the bill.  He spoke about an amendment
to the bill.  The committee asked questions about the bill.
01:58:35 PM  
Jennifer Berman,
Office of Legislative Legal Services, answered questions about the bill.
02:12:30 PM  

Chair Donovan discussed the variety of water speculation bills that the committee has drafted.

02:14:03 PM  
Senator Coram presented
Bill 2 - Investment Water Speculation Prohibition (Attachment H).  The
committee discussed the bill.  
02:21:28 PM  

The committee continued to discuss the bill and water speculation.

02:33:02 PM  
Senator Coram presented
Bill 3 - Time Period to Object to Groundwater Management Notices (Attachment
I).  The committee discussed the bill.  
02:42:44 PM  

Representative Roberts told the committee that he will not be offering Bill 4 today.

02:47:28 PM  
Chair Donovan presented
Bill 5 - Expand Water Resources Review Committee to Include Agriculture
(Attachment J).  The committee discussed the bill.
02:51:21 PM  
Chair Donovan presented
Bill 6 - Procedure for Water Rights that Concern Headwaters (Attachment
K).  The committee discussed the bill.
02:57:54 PM  
Chair Donovan presented
Bill 7 and told the committee that she will not be advancing the bill.
 
02:57:55 PM  

The committee took a brief recess.

03:04:22 PM  

The committee reconvened.



03:26:33 PM
Motion Move to recommend Bill 1 to Legislative Council (Attachment G).
Moved Sonnenberg
Seconded
Bridges Yes
Catlin Yes
Coram Yes
Jaquez Lewis Yes
McCormick Yes
McKean Yes
Roberts Yes
Sonnenberg Yes
McLachlan Yes
Donovan Yes
YES: 10   NO: 0   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS
03:26:44 PM  

Bill 1 will start in the Senate and Senator Simpson and Senator Sonnenberg will be prime Senate sponsors. Representative Roberts and Representative Catlin will be prime sponsors in the House. The committee is added as cosponsors.



03:35:07 PM
Motion Move to amend Bill 2 (Attachment H). The amendment broadens the title (Attachment L).
Moved Coram
Seconded
Bridges Yes
Catlin Yes
Coram Yes
Jaquez Lewis Yes
McCormick Yes
McKean No
Roberts Yes
Sonnenberg Yes
McLachlan Yes
Donovan Yes
YES: 9   NO: 1   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS


03:36:41 PM
Motion Move to recommend Bill 2 as amended to Legislative Council.
Moved Coram
Seconded
Bridges Yes
Catlin No
Coram Yes
Jaquez Lewis Yes
McCormick Yes
McKean No
Roberts Yes
Sonnenberg Yes
McLachlan Yes
Donovan Yes
YES: 8   NO: 2   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS
03:36:43 PM  

Bill 2 will start in the Senate.  The prime sponsors will be Senators Coram and Donovan, and Representative McCormick. Senators Bridges and Jaquez Lewis are added as cosponsors.



03:39:15 PM
Motion Move to recommend Bill 5 (Attachment J) to Legislative Council.
Moved Coram
Seconded
Bridges Yes
Catlin Yes
Coram Yes
Jaquez Lewis Yes
McCormick Yes
McKean Yes
Roberts Yes
Sonnenberg Yes
McLachlan Yes
Donovan Yes
YES: 10   NO: 0   EXC: 0   ABS:  0   FINAL ACTION:  PASS
03:39:16 PM  

Bill 5 will start in the Senate.  The prime sponsors will be Senators Donovan and Sonnenberg and Representatives McLachlan and Catlin.  All committee members will be added as cosponsors.

03:39:17 PM  

Committee members made final comments.

03:39:17 PM  

Committee members agreed unanimously to approve and send the Letter to the Economic Relief Task Force.


03:43:08 PM   The committee adjourned.






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