Failed Water Export Attempts
There have been five attempts to transport water out of the Valley, and all have failed. Local water districts and various San Luis Valley citizen group have banded together time and time again to stop water exports. Here’s a brief history:
American Water Development Inc. (AWDI) proposed selling 200,000 acre-feet of deep groundwater from its Baca Ranch to the Denver metro area.
1994 – The Colorado Supreme Court upheld a district court ruling that pumping water out of the Valley would adversely affect the shallow aquifer and surface water rights, shelving the AWDI plan.
1995 – A group of investors headed by Gary Boyce of Stockman’s Water purchased the Baca Ranch. Boyce planned to pipe 150,000 acre-feet of water per year to Denver. When the Stockman’s proposal was again denied by the courts, The Nature Conservancy stepped in and bought the Baca Ranch in 2002. Stockman’s interests were sold to the federal government to establish the Baca National Wildlife Refuge and the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. After Boyce’s death, his estate sold another property, Rancho Rosado, located north of the Sand Dunes, to Renewable Water Resources (RWR).
RWR is promoting the latest water scheme to drill new wells to tap the deep, confined aquifer. 22,000 acre-feet of water would be pumped annually to the Front Range. There is widespread opposition in the Valley to this proposal.