Federal rules may force reduced investment in RWR plan
RENEWABLE Water Resources suffered a setback in its effort to pump and export water from the San Luis Valley when it learned rules governing the federal COVID relief funding may not allow Douglas County to invest $20 million.
In a Jan. 27 letter to Douglas County commissioners Abe Laydon, Lora Thomas and George Teal, RWR said its attorneys have told them, “that the rules and regulations governing the use of ARPA funds may not allow the County to spend $20 million on projects that are not completed by 2026.”
“In the event the County and RWR conclude the County cannot spend $20 million on the RWR project, RWR is willing to revise the terms RWR Proposal as follows: ‘In consideration for the Initial Payment of $10 million, the Purchase Price for the water rights will be fixed at $19,500.00 per annual acre foot.’”
The development doesn’t end RWR’s efforts to get Douglas County’s investment.
“My takeaway was simply that RWR is willing to work with the parties to ensure their proposal fits ever-changing federal ARPA guidelines,” said Douglas County Commissioner Abe Laydon.
Asked if he’s open to spending $10 million on the RWR exportation plan, he said, “Oh no, not at all. I’m not willing to spend 10 cents if it doesn’t make sense to do so and there is not a clear win/win supported by the interested parties.”
Renewable Water Resources hired Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, a law firm that moves in the highest social and political circles in the country, to determine if the plan to have Douglas County invest $20 million of its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) into its water exportation effort would meet the federal rules governing the money.
Douglas County persists in its review of the RWR proposal despite being told by state water officials that there is no available water in the San Luis Valley. If Douglas County votes to invest in RWR, the plan would move to the state for review and eventually into court.
Douglas County commissioners are planning to host meetings March 26 in Alamosa.
Read the full letter here: