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BERG HILL GREENLEAF & RUSCITTI LLP ATTORNEYS & COUNSELORS AT LAW 1712 Peal Stost + Boulder, Colorado 80302 “Tele 303.402.1600 » Fax: 303.402.1601 ‘ David G, Hill Email:, July 12, 2007 Members of the South Platte River Basin Task Foree Re: Source of Additional Water for Junior South Platte Wells ‘Dear Task Force Member: In response to the interest which you displayed at the June meeting in Greeley, I am sending this additional information, As noted, there is a huge amount of research on the amount of additional water which can be obtained from proper trimming of our national forests. As an example, Charles Leaf of Platte River Hydrologic Research Center, an engineer who has consulted for the Forest Service, has prepared an engineering report on the amount of water which would result from proper patch- cutting of the Pike-San Isabel and Arapahoe-Roosevelt national forests, assuming the patch- cutting progressed over a reasonable period of time. According to his study, over a one to five year period of progressive patch cutting, flows at Kersey would be increased by some 29,000 acre feet per year, on average, and over a six to fifteen year period flows would go up by some 57,000 acre feet. Increased flows would go up over longer periods, reaching a maximum of some 138,000 acre feet, as patch cutting of more areas continued. ‘The Forest Service does not agree with Mr. Leaf’s estimates of the amount to be obtained by paich cutting of the entire timberable areas of those forests. However, the Forest Service does agree that measured yield increases of 15 to 20 percent have been achieved from patch cutting of particular areas in the past, and that significant water yield increases can generally be expected from proper trimming of selected areas. In response to the interest in obtaining more water through trimming of forests, the Forest Service has developed a model, called WatBal, which will predict with reasonable accuracy the inereased yield to be obtained from various types of trimming of a particular area, taking into account the type and density of tree cover, slope, angle to the sun, and other applicable factors. In addition to water obtained by trimming national forests, more water can of course be obtained by eliminating tamarisk (salt cedar) along the banks of the South Platte River. ‘Tamarisk is an undesirable non-native species. July 12, 2007 Page 2 Present statutes forbid one who trims a forest (or tamarisk) from receiving any credit for the extra water produced, The extra water simply goes into the priority system. T would propose that the statutes be amended to allow the following: One who wished to obtain credit for trimming would file an application in Water Court, based upon the Wat Bal model (or another model), showing the amount of water to be obtained from trimming a particular area (with permission to trim obtained from the Forest Service or other landowner). Other water users could challenge the claimed amount. ‘The Water Court ‘would determine the amount to be produced and the trimmer would obtain a fraction of the water produced, pethaps 80 percent. (The 20 percent would help other water users, tend to defuse their objections, and protect against over-estimates.) There are studies which show the rate at which the new water produced will decline as reforestation occurs, usually over 40 to 50 years, so the ‘water claimed would have to be reduced with time (unless there is further thinning). ‘The trimmer’s water would be “shepherded” to the trimmer’s location like a reservoir release, subject to stream losses as it progressed downstream. In my example, the trimmer would be allowed to take the entire 80 percent, less stream losses to the trimmer’s point of diversion, ‘The research shows that the increased yields tend to be concentrated in the spring runoff period, Well users could divert the water during that period and put it into recharge pits, to cover their well depletions, as is customarily done at this time by diversions into recharge pits. The proposed procedure would enable water-short well users to estimate the cost of trimming a particular area, as compared to the amount of water to be obtained, and proceed forward if permission could be obtained and the economics were favorable. Again, substantial research is available and can be provided. Sincerely, Z Mo David G. Hill