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Sonnenberg flood relief bill heads to the Senate PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marianne Goodland   

Farmers whose irrigation ditch headgates were damaged in last September’s floods may get some relief from the State Capitol.

House Bill 14-1005 flew through the House in the past week. It was passed by the House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee on Jan. 27, got approved on second reading by the House two days later and got a final 61-2 bipartisan vote on Jan. 30. It now heads to the Senate for further action.

The bill is sponsored by Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling) and other members of a flood relief committee appointed by the governor after September’s floods.

Under HB 1005, a water right owner can relocate a ditch headgate without going to water court, so long as the relocation doesn’t interfere with other water rights. “We can do what we need to do to recover from the floods by rebuilding headgates so agriculture and cities have access to the water they’re entitled to,” Sonnenberg told the committee Jan. 27.

Representatives from the Colorado Municipal League and the Colorado Department of Natural Resources testified in favor of the bill. Bob Randall, deputy director of DNR, said the bill would help bring water structure back online.

This week, Sen. Greg Brophy, (R-Wray) will look for support from the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee for a bill that may try to find some good from the September floods.

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Holyoke Enterprise February 6, 2014