Settlement OK’d in Beebe Draw Aquifer water-sharing talks

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By Crystal Nelson

BRIGHTON — Brighton City Council unanimously approved a settlement with local municipalities that will allow the city to withdraw water from the Beebe Draw Aquifer under Barr Lake for municipal use. 

During a special council meeting March 25, council voted 8-0 to enter into a stipulation with East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District, Arapahoe County Water and Wastewater Authority, United Water and Sanitation District and the Town of Lochbuie, which share the aquifer. 

Brighton had applied for water rights to change the use of water from agricultural uses to municipal uses, set the legal pumping amounts and approve an augmentation plan. However,  the municipalities who share water from the draw submitted statements of opposition. The parties had been working to come to an agreement instead of taking the issue to trial this spring. 

“Since we were the primary parties withdrawing water from the Beebe Draw Aquifer, we got together on this joint settlement to agree on volumes of pumping, monitoring of the ground water and the surface levels in the draw and related protective terms and conditions that all of the parties could work together with so we could basically manage the aquifer to the advantage of everybody pumping there and also to settle a lot of the pending cases that were going on,” said Brett Bartlett, Brighton’s special water counsel.

Bartlett said the resolution also finalizes this portion of the case as well as a number of issues between the parties in other cases. 

Additionally, the resolution included a $170,000 budget appropriation as part of the agreement. About $70,000 will be used to construct a nested well and shallow well on the Beebe Draw well field property. The city would also be contributing $100,000 for additional surface and groundwater structures per the agreement.