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header image: Animas-La Plata Project

 

Frequently Asked Questions
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1) Why is the Animas La-Plata Project being built?

The project is being built to fulfill the water rights settlement of the two Indian tribes that live in Colorado – the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. These tribes have water rights that date back to 1868. Fulfillment of the settlement obligations, one of which is completing the Animas-La Plata Project, will provide non-Indian water users in Southwest Colorado certainty to the continued, historical use of water.

Storage is an important aspect of water supply in the semi-arid western United States, where there is usually not a reliable, regular flow of sufficient water in streams and rivers to meet water needs year round.

Lastly, the project will provide nearly 33% of the storage in Lake Nighthorse for use by non-Indian entities in the Four Corners region.

2) Who benefits from the stored water?

There are seven entities that will benefit directly from the construction of the Project and the storage of water in Lake Nighthorse. These are: 1) Southern Ute Indian Tribe, 2) Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, 3) Animas-La Plata Water Conservancy District, 4) State of Colorado, 5) Navajo Nation, 6) San Juan Water Commission and 7) La Plata Conservancy District. The table below geographically illustrates (Colorado and New Mexico) how much water each entity will receive.

Animas-La Plata Project Water Allocation
  Supply (acre-feet)1/ Depletion (acre-feet)2/
Colorado    
Southern Ute Indian Tribe
33,050
16,525
Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
33,050
16,525
Animas-La Plata Water Conservancy District
5,200
2,600
State of Colorado
10,460
5,230
Subtotal
81,760
40,880
 
New Mexico
Navajo Nation
4,680
2,340
San Juan Water Commission
20,800
10,400
La Plata Conservancy District
1,560
780
Subtotal
27,040
13,520
(Evaporation)
2,700
2,700
Grand Total
111,500
57,100
**  1/ Water Diverted          2/ Water Consumed

Others who benefit from the project include: non-Indian water users whose water rights are no longer in jeopardy due to fulfillment of the obligations of the Colorado Ute Indian Water Rights Settlement and recreation users, both on Lake Nighthorse and the Animas River

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Last updated: February 24, 2012