A public meeting by Independence (see link below for information) to discuss additions/changes to the Independence Planned Use Development (PUD) they want will be
March 9th, 5:30, at the Elbert County Fairgrounds. This request by Independence, which appears to include the need for additional water use, will be separate from Independence’s water court application for use of the Upper Dawson, which we are fighting at the water court right now. It will be separate because the water court’s jurisdiction is limited to the use of water. Elbert County is the entity that will ultimately need to approve any changes to the Independence PUD.
Just one of the questions that needs to be answered at this meeting is: Will the proposed PUD amendments increase the present estimated water use in the water court case? Common sense seems that because these requested amendments add additional residences and more irrigated open space additional/different water uses will be needed. We need to hear the explanation to that in an open meeting. It seems that any change in the proposed water needs in the development would be relevant to our water court case, because, even without these changes, Independence is claiming in water court that return flows from water use in the development will be used to replace Independence’s stream depletion caused by the withdrawals of the water. In the water court case, Independence provided their estimates of water use in the development, as it is now without these requested additions/changes, and the resulting return flows as proof that the stream depletion would be replaced by return flows. If Independence is changing the PUD, and that results in different water use and return flow patterns, then Independence would need to revise their facts in the water court case to account for that. If Independence is granted this request for additions/changes in a public hearing, thus it appears more/different uses would be needed, any needed corrections that affect Upper Dawson water would have to be included and supported in the expert disclosure that Independence is required to file in water court by August 1 of this year.
Here is the information on the March 9th hearing. Come and find out what the next move is from Independence.