Document Details

Alternative Water Transfers in Colorado: A Review of Alternative Transfer Mechanisms for Front Range Municipalities

WestWater Research | November 1, 2016
Summary

Alternative water transfers (ATMs) refer to various methods, activities, and frameworks that have been established to transfer water on a temporary or intermittent basis, primarily from agriculture to other uses. They are labeled as “alternative” because they represent a type of water transfer that does not result in the permanent dry-up of agricultural land, which has been the primary form of water transfers in much of Colorado for decades. ATMs are a body of activities that represent general frameworks or concepts to be molded to the specific conditions of a place and need. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) obtained a grant opportunity to fund research, analysis, and outreach toward the development of ATMs with the potential to improve the financial returns and long-term viability of farming, maintain or improve streamflows which support environmental and recreational activities, and provide a cost-effective means for municipalities to maintain water supply reliability into the future. The purpose of this project is to develop a comprehensive financial comparison of the water supply development options currently pursued by municipalities to applicable ATMs and to develop recommendations that can increase the application of specific ATM structures with the potential joint benefits to municipal and agricultural water users.

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Description

Alternative water transfers (ATMs) refer to various methods, activities, and frameworks that have been established to transfer water on a temporary or intermittent basis, primarily from agriculture to other uses. They are labeled as “alternative” because they represent a type of water transfer that does not result in the permanent dry-up of agricultural land, which has been the primary form of water transfers in much of Colorado for decades. ATMs are a body of activities that represent general frameworks or concepts to be molded to the specific conditions of a place and need. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) obtained a grant opportunity to fund research, analysis, and outreach toward the development of ATMs with the potential to improve the financial returns and long-term viability of farming, maintain or improve streamflows which support environmental and recreational activities, and provide a cost-effective means for municipalities to maintain water supply reliability into the future. The purpose of this project is to develop a comprehensive financial comparison of the water supply development options currently pursued by municipalities to applicable ATMs and to develop recommendations that can increase the application of specific ATM structures with the potential joint benefits to municipal and agricultural water users.

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Keywords:

Colorado River, Transfers - See Water Markets