Arkansas Valley Conduit

Description

The Arkansas Valley Conduit (AVC) is a 130-mile pipeline with spurs that would serve as many as 40 communities and 50,000 people east of Pueblo. It will deliver filtered water ready for treatment from Pueblo Reservoir. The AVC will supplement existing water supplies, which face state compliance issues because of salinity or radionuclide contamination. Most of the participants rely on groundwater, and are in need of a reliable supply of fresh water.

 

History

The cities of the Lower Arkansas Valley in Colorado have awaited the construction of the AVC for decades. The AVC was authorized by Congress as part of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project in 1962. It never was built largely because of the inability of participants to repay construction costs. In 2009, Congress amended the original Fry-Ark legislation. The amendment featured a cost-sharing plan with 65 percent federal and 35 percent local funding. The locally funded portion will be repaid by the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District (District) to the federal government over a period of 50 years. 

  

Milestones

Regional Water Conservation Plan

2020 - Arkansas Valley Conduit gets additional Federal Funding

The Arkansas Valley Conduit is in line to get an additional $8.05 million in fiscal year 2021, if Congress approves President Trump’s proposed budget, which was released Monday.

The possibility of additional funding comes after Congress approved $28 million in federal funding for the current fiscal year, which was announced last week. The Colorado Water Conservation Board has approved a $100 million financing package which is under consideration by the Colorado Legislature.

“It is very gratifying to see funding for the AVC beginning to flow as we prepare for construction,” said Bill Long, president of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, project sponsor. “Years of hard work have gone into this project, both by the District and Reclamation. The AVC was envisioned by far-sighted people more than 60 years ago, just as our efforts today will benefit future generations.”

The District and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation are working in partnership on a path forward that will allow final design and construction of the first segment of the line. The planning effort is designed to reduce costs and expedite construction.

“The AVC is a critical piece of infrastructure that will deliver clean and reliable water to rural communities of southeastern Colorado so they can thrive and grow,” said Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman, “I am pleased that through hard work and collaboration at the local, state, and federal level, Reclamation and our partners are positioned to move quickly toward construction so that we can deliver water to the communities of the Arkansas Valley.”

The AVC total cost is estimated to be between $564 million and $610 million and part of the path forward for the project includes working with other federal, state and local agencies to provide funding. The plan allows for development of the AVC in segments to deliver water more quickly, while employing regionalization strategies in advance of the AVC’s arrival.

The AVC will provide clean drinking water to about 50,000 people in 40 communities east of Pueblo via a 130-mile pipeline, along with connections to water systems along the way. The plan is to use capacity in Pueblo Water’s system to avoid building miles of additional pipeline. The line would extend from the eastern end of Pueblo’s service area near the Pueblo Airport.

The project is seen by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment as the best remedy for high levels of naturally occurring radioactive materials in drinking water for about 15 of the 40 water providers. Other communities are also facing issues of expensive treatment for other sorts of contamination.

The AVC was first authorized as part of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project in 1962 as a way to provide supplemental water to communities east of Pueblo. It was never built because of the cost to local water systems.

In 2009, federal legislation made revenues from the Fry-Ark Project available for construction and repayment of the AVC. A 2014 Record of Decision by the Bureau of Reclamation determined the AVC was the best solution for water quality and supply problems in the Lower Arkansas Valley.

2020 - Arkansas Valley Conduit gains federal funding
The Arkansas Valley Conduit received $28 million in federal funding to finish design and begin construction of the long-awaited pipeline.

2019 – CWCB approves $100 Million for AVC 

2014 – Reclamation issued a Record of Decision for the AVC, which established a route (Comanche North) and scope of work for the project. 

2013 – The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) completed a Final Environmental Impact Statement for the AVC.

2013—Regional Water Conservation Plan in Support of Arkansas Valley Conduit and Related Projects completed by the District.

2009 – P.L. 111-11 passed, allowing miscellaneous revenues (excess-capacity contract payments) from the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project to be applied to AVC construction and repayment. These payments will be available beginning in 2022 and initially total about $3 million annually, increasing in future years as contract payments rise.                             

AVC Progress Report

CDM Smith, under a contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, completed a study of Regionalization for theAVC with the goal of providing interim solutions for AVC participants until the AVC can be completed. The Final Report of Phase 1 provided alternatives with the goal of addressing Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment drinking water enforcement orders, while CDM Smith Studyfollowing the alignment of the AVC east of Pueblo as closely as possible.

Meanwhile, Reclamation has endorsed the “New Concept,” proposal made by the District in 2017, which eliminates the need to build a pipeline around Pueblo by using the capacity in Pueblo Water’s system to deliver AVC water at a point east of the Pueblo Memorial Airport. In 2019, Reclamation initiated a Value Planning workshop to study efficiencies along the entire route, with the goal of addressing federal concerns, and improving chances for federal appropriations. 

 

 

 

 

Pueblo County

  • Town of Boone
  • St. Charles Mesa Water District

Crowley County

  • 96 Pipeline Company
  • Crowley County Water Association
  • Town of Crowley
  • Town of Olney Springs
  • Town of Ordway
  • Town of Sugar City

Bent County

  • Hasty Water Company
  • City of Las Animas
  • McClave Water Association

Prowers County

  • City of Lamar
  • May Valley Water Association
  • Town of Wiley

Kiowa County 

  • Town of Eads

Otero County 

  • Beehive Water Association

  • Bents Fort Water Company

  • Town of Cheraw

  • East End Water Association

  • Eureka Water Company

  • Fayette Water Association

  • Town of Fowler

  • Hancock Incorporated (now part of Rocky Ford)

  • Hilltop Water Company

  • Holbrook Center Soft Water

  • Homestead Improvement Association

  • City of La Junta

  • Town of Manzanola

  • Newdale-Grand Valley North Holbrook Water

  • Patterson Valley

  • Riverside Water Company

  • City of Rocky Ford

  • South Side Water Association

  • South Swink Water Company

  • Town of Swink

  • Valley Water Company

  • Vroman Water Company

  • West Grand Valley Water

  • West Holbrook Water

 

Click Here for the Final Enviormental Impact Statement

For more information: United States Bureau of Reclamation