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The Goals Of Grand Valley Water Users Association In Colorado

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The Grand Valley Water Users Association manages water diversions for Grand Valley Power, Frutia, Orchard Mesa, Palisade, Mesa County and provide water to nearly 80,000 acres of irrigation. One way this work is accomplished is through the use of the Grand River Diversion Dam, which is the largest roller dam in the world. Moreover, up until 1934 the Colorado River was named the Grand River.

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Thus, this is how the Grand River Diversion Dam got its name. In addition, the roller dam also helps to sort fish, both native and nonnative. Recently they have found that the Razorback Sucker fish went from being an endangered species to near threatened. Another way this work is accomplished is through the use of canals. In the Grand Valley there are 5 canals that take water out of the Colorado River and supply it to farmers for agriculture. The canals then return any water that is not used back to the Colorado River. The last type of diversion used by the Grand Valley Water Users Association are hydraulic pipes. As a result, there are 150 miles of underground hydraulic pipes that pump water to parts of the grand valley as well as 100 miles of drains that take the water back to the Colorado River. Even though the Grand Valley Water Users Association mainly focuses on suppling irrigation water for agriculture they also coordinate a program called the 15-Mile Reach, which is a stretch of water that is reserved for the purpose of re-establishing populations of threatened and endangered species in the Upper Colorado River basin. Additionally, the 15-Mile Reach portion of the Colorado River extends from the confluence of the Gunnison River upstream 15 miles to the Grand Valley Irrigation Diversion Dam near Palisade.

Furthermore, some recent improvements to benefit the water supply at the 15-Mile Reach are 50 miles of canals and diversions at the dam, which controls the supply and demand of the water. These 50 miles of canals are split into 16 different sections where they can keep lower levels of water in certain areas and higher levels of water in others. In Colorado 89% of the water is used for agriculture and the population here is increasing, but there are no new sources of water. Indeed, if there is a water shortage and water is not being supplied to the Lower River Basin this could trigger a compact call, which is considered a crisis and drastic measures would be taken. As a result, Colorado relies on water banking. Water banking is a form of conjunctive use in which water is allocated for current use or stored in reservoirs for later use. Therefore, Banking water gives the Upper River Basin protection from a compact call by helping to meet our obligation to and supply water to the Lower River Basin.

29 April 2020

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