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H_AGR_2017A 03/20/2017 Committee Summary

Final

STAFF SUMMARY OF MEETING



HOUSE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, LIVESTOCK, & NATURAL RESOURCES

Date: 03/20/2017
ATTENDANCE
Time: 01:31 PM to 04:19 PM
Becker J.
X
Buck
X
Place: HCR 0107
Danielson
X
Esgar
X
This Meeting was called to order by
Hansen
X
Representative Arndt
Lebsock
X
Lewis
X
This Report was prepared by
McKean
X
Meghan O'Connor
Saine
X
Valdez
X
Willett
X
Mitsch Bush
X
Arndt
X
X = Present, E = Excused, A = Absent, * = Present after roll call
Bills Addressed: Action Taken:
HB17-1233

HB17-1248

HB17-1219
Referred to the Committee of the Whole

Referred to House Appropriations

Referred to the Committee of the Whole





01:31 PM -- HB 17-1233



Representative Arndt, sponsor, presented House Bill 17-1233, concerning protection of the historical consumptive use analysis of a water right involved in a water conservation program. Under current law if the owner of a water right brings an action to water court to change the amount of water the owner may use, the amount of water that can be changed is limited to the historical consumptive use of water under the water right. Water usage that results from participation in a government sponsored water conservation program is not considered in determining the historical consumptive use in water divisions 4, 5, or 6. The bill applies this rule statewide to include water divisions 1, 2, 3, and 7. The bill clarifies that water conservation projects include pilot projects, and that the applicable government sponsored program approved by a state agency are limited to those with explicit statutory jurisdiction over water conservation or water rights.



The following persons testified on the bill:



01:36 PM --
Aaron Citron, the Nature Conservancy, testified in support of the bill and responded to questions from the committee.





01:44 PM --
Dr. John Stulp, Special Advisor for Water Policy to the Governor, spoke in support of the bill and stated that the purpose of the legislation is to protect water users from future quantification of their water rights due to participation in a government sponsored program. Dr. Stulp discussed a pilot program in the Gilcrest/LeSalle region to address high groundwater, and how participation in that program could affect the future quantification of a water right. Dr. Stulp responded to questions from the committee regarding the inclusion of Water District 1 in the bill.



01:55 PM --
Zach Smith, Colorado Water Trust, testified in support of the bill and responded to questions from the committee regarding the inclusion of Water Division 1 in the bill.



02:01 PM --
Emily Brummit, Colorado Water Congress, testified in support of the bill.



02:02 PM --
Bill Hancock, representing himself, testified in support of the bill.



02:05 PM



The chair closed testimony, and Representative Arndt closed her remarks on the bill.

BILL: HB17-1233
TIME: 02:06:41 PM
MOVED: Arndt
MOTION: Refer House Bill 17-1233 to the Committee of the Whole. The motion passed on a vote of 8-5.
SECONDED: Danielson
VOTE
Becker J.
No
Buck
No
Danielson
Yes
Esgar
Yes
Hansen
Yes
Lebsock
Yes
Lewis
No
McKean
No
Saine
No
Valdez
Yes
Willett
Yes
Mitsch Bush
Yes
Arndt
Yes
Final YES: 8 NO: 5 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS







02:10 PM -- HB 17-1248



Rep Arndt, sponsor, presented House Bill 17-1248, concerning the funding of Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) projects. The bill appropriates funds from the CWCB Construction Fund in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to the CWCB or the Division of Water Resources (DWR) for specific water related projects in FY 2017-18.



02:12 PM --
James Eklund, Director, CWCB, testified in support of the bill and discussed specific projects in the bill that require financing.



02:21 PM --
Kirk Russel, Deputy Director CWCB, testified in support of the bill.



02:34 PM



Mr. Eklund responded to questions from the committee.



02:38 PM --
Jay Winner, Lower Arkansas Water Conservancy District, testified in support of the bill.



02:41 PM --
Julie McKenna, Northern Water Conservancy District, testified in support of the bill.



02:43 PM



The chair closed testimony, and Representative Arndt, made closing remarks on the bill. Committee discussion ensued.

BILL: HB17-1248
TIME: 02:46:56 PM
MOVED: Arndt
MOTION: Refer House Bill 17-1248 to the Committee on Appropriations. The motion passed on a vote of 12-1.
SECONDED: McKean
VOTE
Becker J.
Yes
Buck
Yes
Danielson
Yes
Esgar
Yes
Hansen
Yes
Lebsock
Yes
Lewis
No
McKean
Yes
Saine
Yes
Valdez
Yes
Willett
Yes
Mitsch Bush
Yes
Arndt
Yes
Final YES: 12 NO: 1 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS









02:48 PM



The committee recessed.



02:54 PM -- HB 17-1219



-
The committee came back to order. Representatives McLachlan and Arndt, co-prime sponsors, presented House Bill 17-1219, concerning, an extension of the agricultural water leasing pilot program administered by the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB). Under current law, the CWCB administers a pilot program to demonstrate the practice of fallowing irrigated agricultural land and temporarily leasing the associated water rights. Fallowing refers to the practice of leaving plowed agricultural land unseeded for one or more growing seasons. The bill makes changes to the program including increasing the number of CWCB authorized projects from 10 to 15; specifying that no more than five pilot projects may be located in any one of the four major river basins; extending the deadline of applications for sponsorship of a project from December 31, 2018 to December 31, 2023; extending completion dates of pilot projects from 2029 to 2034. Representatives Arndt and McLachlan responded to questions from the committee and committee discussion ensued regarding the benefits of lease fallowing and the need for water storage.



The following persons testified on the bill:



03:09 PM --
Jay Winner, Lower Arkansas Water Conservancy District, testified in support of the bill and discussed House Bill 13-1248, which established the pilot program administered by CWCB. Mr. Winner discussed the process of lease fallowing and how it affects water users. Mr. Winner responded to questions regarding the pilot program.



03:17 PM --
Bill Hancock, representing himself, testified in support of the bill.



03:22 PM --
John Schweizer, Jr., Arkansas Valley Super Ditch Company, testified in support of the bill and gave background on the development of the Arkansas Valley Super Ditch and the benefits to water users in the Lower Arkansas Valley, particularly in Crowley County. Mr. Schweizer responded to questions from the committee regarding the benefits of the CWCB pilot program.



03:31 PM --
Phillip Chavez, Diamond A Farms, testified in support of the bill and provided the committee with a background of water use on his farm and how the CWCB pilot project has benefited his area.



03:42 PM --
Don Shawcroft, Colorado Farm Bureau, testified in support of the bill and discussed why the pilot program should be extended. Mr. Shawcroft responded to question from the committee.



03:48 PM --
Dr. John Stulp, Water Policy Advisor for the Governor, testified in support of the bill and explained the need for the pilot project program. He discussed the lease fallow tool and described the benefits to water users. Dr. Stulp responded to questions from the committee regarding the pilot program, specifically the approval process for projects in the program.



04:02 PM --
Dianna Orf, Colorado Water Congress, testified in support of the bill.



04:04 PM --
Aaron Citron, the Nature Conservancy, testified in support of the bill.



04:07 PM --
Leah Martinsson, Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District, testified in support of the bill and explained why the pilot project should be extended.



04:11 PM --
Jack Goble, Lower Arkansas Valley Conservancy District, testified in support of the bill.









04:14 PM



The chair closed testimony, and Representatives Arndt and McLachlan made closing remarks on the bill.

BILL: HB17-1219
TIME: 04:14:58 PM
MOVED: Arndt
MOTION: Refer House Bill 17-1219 to the Committee of the Whole. The motion passed on a vote of 9-4.
SECONDED: Danielson
VOTE
Becker J.
No
Buck
Yes
Danielson
Yes
Esgar
Yes
Hansen
Yes
Lebsock
Yes
Lewis
No
McKean
No
Saine
No
Valdez
Yes
Willett
Yes
Mitsch Bush
Yes
Arndt
Yes
Final YES: 9 NO: 4 EXC: 0 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS



04:19 PM



The committee adjourned.




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