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Erik Skeie
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South Platte High Groundwater Issues

Background
Relatively recent changes in surface and groundwater management, along with other hydrologic drivers, have caused high groundwater conditions in localized areas of the South Platte Basin.  

In the late 2000's, homeowners began reporting high groundwater levels in the Sterling area, while reports of flooding basements, damaged crops, and septic systems were being relayed from the Gilcrest/LaSalle area. In 2012, the Colorado Legislature Passed HB 12-1278, which directed the Colorado Water Institute (CWI) at Colorado State University to conduct a study of the South Platte alluvial aquifer with funding provided by the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB). CWI submitted their final report on December 31, 2013.

The South Platte Basin Roundtable formed the Groundwater Technical Committee in 2014 to investigate the recommendations outlined in the HB 12-1278 report and to develop specific direction, where appropriate, for those recommendations.

Legislation has been passed in recent years in an attempt to address the high groundwater issues. Some of this legislation has provided grant funding for dewatering solutions. See below for more information on how to apply for a grant or a pilot project.

Damaging High Groundwater Response Grants in the South Platte Basin
Section 10 of the 2017 CWCB Projects Bill (HB17-1248) provides $325,000 for several types of efforts related to high groundwater issues in the South Platte Basin. This includes grant funding for projects in response to damaging high groundwater levels in areas of the South Platte River Basin for the construction, maintenance, and monitoring of dewatering infrastructure.

How do I apply for a Grant?
  1. Review the Criteria and Guidelines Document
    1. Attachment 1: GWS 45 Dewatering Well Permit Application
    2. Attachment 2: Sample Accounting Form
    3. Contact Erik Skeie with any questions you have prior to submitting your application.
    4. Submit your application, including all attachments, via email as one file to: Erik Skeie
      Applications may also be mailed to:
      Colorado Water Conservation Board
      Attn: Erik Skeie
      1313 Sherman St., Rm. 718
      Denver, CO 80203

    HB 15-1013 Pilot Projects to Evaluate Alternative Methods of Lowering the Water Table in Areas Along the South Platte River
    House Bill 15-1013 authorizes the CWCB, in consultation with the State Engineer, to select and administer two pilot projects for the purpose of providing the CWCB and State Engineer with sufficient data to evaluate two alternative methods of lowering the water table in the Gilcrest and Sterling areas along the South Platte River that are experiencing damaging high groundwater levels.

    How do I participate?
    1. Review the Criteria and Guidelines Document
    2. Contact Erik Skeie with any questions you have prior to submitting your application. 
    3. Submit your application, including all attachments, via email as one file to: Erik Skeie
      $100 Application fee should be mailed to:
      Colorado Water Conservation Board
      Attn: Erik Skeie
      1313 Sherman St., Rm. 718
      Denver, CO 80203

    HB 15-1178 Emergency Dewatering Grant Program
    House Bill (HB) 15-1178, signed into law by the Governor on June 5, 2015, authorizes the Colorado Water Conservation Board (the “CWCB” or the “Board”), in collaboration with the State Engineer, to administer a grant program for emergency dewatering of areas in and around Gilcrest, Colorado, and Sterling, Colorado. Emergency dewatering is intended for areas that the Board and the State Engineer determine are experiencing damaging high groundwater levels. The program began on July 1, 2015 and ends on July 1, 2018.

    As require by legislation, Final Report was submitted to the Water Resources Review Committee on October 1, 2017.