By Anthony A. Mestas
The Arkansas Valley Conduit, a 130-mile water pipeline that would serve as many as 40 communities and 50,000 people east of Pueblo, is one more major step closure to fruition.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced last week that the Bureau and Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District has signed a project charter for construction of the conduit.
“This is more great news for the AVC project, and the people in the Arkansas Valley. The project charter is just the first step in the construction of the AVC. I’m happy that we are making progress during this difficult time,” said Bill Long, president of the Southeastern board.
“We appreciate the dedication of our congressional delegation, and the efforts of our partners at the Bureau of Reclamation for making the AVC a reality.”
The project charter is a commitment by the federal government (Bureau of Reclamation) and the district to perform specific actions in order to build the the conduit.
Officials at the district said they are working on a project management plan that will define how the conduit gets built.
These documents are a result of meetings the district has been having with Reclamation since May 2019 to get the conduit on track, reduce costs and improve efficiencies while addressing the water quality needs of the Arkansas Valley as quickly as possible.
In February, the conduit received a major financial boost to begin construction, decades after the project was authorized by the U.S. Congress.
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., announced then that he secured $28 million in funding for the conduit project.
The funding will come from the Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation’s Fiscal Year 2020 work plan.
Gardner told The Pueblo Chieftain on Wednesday that the project charter is another great step forward for this project and he’ll continue to work with local and federal leaders to ensure that the conduit will deliver abundant and affordable clean drinking water to the Colorado communities in need.
“The communities of the Lower Arkansas Valley deserve clean drinking water, which the Arkansas Valley Conduit will supply for 50,000 Coloradans for generations to come,” Gardner said.
“I was proud to secure robust federal funding of $28 million to begin construction for the first time since Congress authorized the project and President Kennedy promised completion nearly six decades ago.”
Scott Tipton, R-Colo, who has long supported the project, said at a time when the nation is experiencing great stress and uncertainty, the news from Bureau of Reclamation on the AVC Project Charter is a bright spot for Southeast Colorado.
“Completion of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project has been a top priority during my time in Congress, and I’m glad to see the Bureau and project partners reach this important milestone,” Tipton said.Read the Article Here