Agreement reached to expand Colorado’s Montgomery Reservoir

Montgomery Reservoir, Colorado
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February 7, 2024 — Colorado Springs has entered into an agreement to adjust its water rights arrangements with entities on the Western Slope. This change allows for the expansion of the Montgomery Reservoir in exchange for relinquishing rights to two proposed reservoirs and altering the rights for a third.

Aspen JournalismOpens in a new tab. reports that Colorado Springs Utilities has been in a legal battle since 2015 over conditional water rights dating back to 1952, associated with three proposed reservoirs: Lower Blue, Spruce Lake, and Mayflower. The agreement will abandon the rights for Spruce Lake and Mayflower Reservoirs, while Lower Blue Reservoir’s rights are modified, allowing for the transfer of most stored water to Breckenridge and Summit County. This will also involve shared costs for the reservoir, which Breckenridge and Summit County will own and operate.

In return, Western Slope parties will not oppose the planned expansion of Montgomery Reservoir, which aims to increase its capacity by 8,100 acre-feet, bringing total storage to about 13,800 acre-feet. This expansion is part of a broader strategy to enhance Colorado Springs’ water supply, acknowledging the challenges of building new reservoirs in environmentally sensitive areas.

Colorado Springs Utilities will also adhere to a limit on the volume of water diverted through the Hoosier Tunnel post-expansion, ensuring sustainable use of transmountain water resources. This agreement reflects a collaborative approach to water management, balancing the needs of Colorado Springs with those of Western Slope communities and environmental considerations.

The agreement also includes support from Colorado Springs for the River District’s efforts to secure the Shoshone water rightOpens in a new tab., emphasizing the importance of non-consumptive water rights for environmental and downstream user benefits.

The Colorado Springs City Council is expected to approve this agreement, marking a forward step in regional water management and conservation efforts, illustrating a compromise that prioritizes resource sharing and environmental stewardship.


A view of Montgomery ReservoirOpens in a new tab. in Park County, Colorado, Jeffrey Beall, July 2020, via Wikimedia Commons.


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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