The Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District (“Northern Water”) held a sealed-bid auction to lease 12,300 AF through the Regional Pool Program (“RPP”) in March. There were eight successful bids at prices ranging from $81/AF to $101/AF, with a weighted average price of $93.75/AF. Lessees must use the water for beneficial purposes in Northern Water’s boundaries, but they do not have to be Colorado–Big Thompson (“CBT”) Project allottees. Of the total volume, 76% will be used for irrigation and 24% for municipal purposes.
Entities contributing water to the Regional Pool will be paid the weighted average price less an administrative fee. To cover costs, Northern Water assesses an administrative fee of $1.50/AF on the first 10,000 AF of RPP water leased in a year. Any additional RPP water leased in the same year incurs an administrative fee of $0.50/AF.
The RPP is related to Northern Water’s Annual Carryover Program. Northern Water allocates water by account, and each account entity can carryover a defined amount of water from one water year to the next. The carryover, however, must be certified. The RPP provides a means to reallocate excess and uncertified carryover water, but can only be used when CBT Project reserves exceed 200,000 AF.
Written by Marta L. Weismann