14 November 2012
Wrapping up Request for Water, Thompson Pump No. 2/Colorado River
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) acquired the Thompson Pump No. 2 water right from a private party and assumed management of the water right in 1999. The 13.8 cfs water right diverts from the Colorado River just upstream of Kremmling to irrigate hay meadows. Preparing for low-flow conditions, the BLM offered the 13.8 cfs water right for lease for use in 3 out of 10 years. This lease represents innovative, creative thinking on the part of the BLM, to help the river and water users this severe summer.
During the 2002 drought, instream flow water rights on the Colorado River were short for 104 days between May and October. The instream flow water rights were appropriated on the Colorado River to preserve rainbow and brown trout. In the early 1980’s, biologists characterized the river upstream from this location as supporting “probably one of the finest wild rainbow trout populations in the streams of Colorado.”
CWT and the BLM put a three-in-ten year lease in place for this water right on August 3, 2012, but the lease was not exercised in this year due to high streamflows on the Colorado River provided by upstream reservoir releases.
Since this water right was also historically used for irrigation, CWT and CWCB will need to identify an additional source of water to satisfy return flow obligations prior to exercising this lease.
When this lease is exercised, it will add water to an instream flow water right on the Colorado River one mile upstream from its confluence with the Blue River near Kremmling.