The new annexation guidelines and policies will be put up for formal adoption at council’s next meeting on Feb. 11, allowing time for community members to review and comment on them.
“What this policy says is that the town will acquire the water rights that are pertinent to annexed parcels,” Town Manager Greg Clifton said at the Jan. 14 meeting. Clifton said that historically when agricultural land is subject to development the land’s water rights are sometimes conveyed to a third party.
“Water is not in great abundance here and we need to be more vigilant at requiring water with land to serve that particular development,” said Clifton. “It can also help in terms of our overall [water] capacity.”
If and when the annexation agreement is approved, the guidelines state that the town will evaluate the water rights it is acquiring and determine if the water will be used for the town’s treatment plant, as potable water or as part of the town’s non-potable water system.
“Even though it could augment the source water for the town, it could also continue to be used for irrigating the land,” Clifton said. “Instead of growing hay fields it would be used to grow the landscaping of the development. A lot of things could happen in terms of the use of water.”
The new guidelines also state that land additions without available water rights will require a payment to augment the needed water from Ridgway Reservoir.
Click here for a PDF Draft of Water Rights Regulations