Project: Huerfano River Basin Regional Augmentation Plan

Huerfano County, Colorado

Huerfano County Water Conservancy District has been a client of Lamp Rynearson, formerly known as TZA Water Engineers, since the 1970s. In 2013, Lamp Rynearson was commissioned to develop a regional augmentation plan to facilitate lawful water use throughout the Huerfano River Basin in Huerfano County. This was necessary to enable water users, such as the Town of Gardner, to continue to pump ground water while recognizing the senior water rights in the basin. The augmentation plan was designed to be regional, meaning that other water users can join the plan using a streamlined process. The intent was to protect existing water uses and to facilitate new water uses in the County.

The source of water for the regional augmentation plan is the William Craig Ranch with the No. 7 water right and 92 acres of irrigated pasture.  Engineering studies and negotiations were conducted to arrive at a decree signed by the Water Court Judge permitting use of the William Craig water right for augmentation purposes.

To achieve augmentation of the Huerfano River from the William Craig Ditch, two structures were built – Sheep Mountain Augmentation Facility (which directly delivers water from the ditch to the river) and a recharge pond. The recharge pond receives water from the ditch and after infiltration (which takes a few days or weeks) the infiltrated water moves through the ground water to the river over the course of a few months. This delayed delivery of ditch water to the river facilitates year-round augmentation – an important attribute of an augmentation plan that is replacing well water use.

The regional augmentation plan will supply 50-acre feet of firm yield augmentation. Lamp Rynearson is assisting the inclusion of new participants to the plan.