The Colorado Water Conservation Board this week increased to $40 million the funds available for low-interest loans to help irrigators and other water users start repairing flood damaged systems, an increase from the $15 million it had designated earlier this month.
The CWCB has also approved the first round of loans, for a total of $12 million. The loans carry a 30-year term with no interest and no payments the first three years. The loans were distributed to 10 irrigation and ditch companies for emergency repairs of diversion structures and ditch systems and ranged in amount from $202,000 to the Boulder and Larimer County Irrigating and Manufacturing Ditch Company to $3.3 million for the Left Hand Ditch Company.
“These repairs are a critical part of recovery from the September floods and the CWCB will continue providing loans and taking other proactive steps to get irrigators, farmers and water suppliers back on their feet,” said CWCB director James Eklund. “We thank the board for its far-sighted and quick action in directing these loans to these important projects.”
Other loans approved as part of the $12 million package include: Highland Ditch Company ($2 million); Rough and Ready Irrigating Ditch Company ($1.8 million); Oligarchy Irrigation Company ($1.3 million); Big Thompson and Platte River Ditch Company ($800,000); Ish Reservoir Company ($207,000); Consolidated Home Supply Ditch and Reservoir Company ($1.6 million); Church Ditch Water Authority ($606,000); and North Poudre Irrigation Company ($482,000). For more information about the CWCB 2013 Flood Event Emergency Loan program, including eligible projects, go here.
The increase in loan funds for affected water providers follows a grant of $1.8 million to the South Platte Basin Roundtable for flood-impacted infrastructure recovery. More information on that grant is available here.
Board actions this week included approval to repurpose the remaining balance of the watershed restoration program (at least $400,000) to address flood-damaged streams needing restoration. The Board also adopted a policy supporting wise rebuilding practices and reinforcing previous Board-approved higher floodplain management standards. This will help Colorado to become more flood resilient for present and future generations. Many flood stricken communities have contacted staff for assistance with adopting higher standards. Other communities have expressed a strong interest in joining the National Flood Insurance Program.
In related action, the CWCB is partnering with FEMA and local governments to obtain 4,600 square miles of digital imagery and topographic mapping in the flood-impacted areas of the South Platte basin. This information can be used to assess or generate updated flood hazard mapping.