Ouray Council Approves

The Watch
by Beverly Corbell
Feb 04, 2009
OURAY – A decades old water fight with the federal government came to an end for the Ouray City Council Monday when it voted to remove objections to a settlement for reserved water rights at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

The fight to protect those rights has been going on “for years and years,” City Manager Patrick Rondinelli said.

“The federal government tried to wipe out all water rights.”

A tentative agreement was reached in June of last year on the amount of water that should flow through the national park and was formally decreed by the Gunnison Water Court on Dec. 31.

The city previously withdrew its opposition to the proposed decree and effectively consented to the settlement, according to Rondinelli, but with the settlement adopted, the action by Ouray City Council Monday night was to ratify withdrawing that opposition, which passed unanimously.

The water fight involved many entities, including the Gunnison River Water Conservancy District, the National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation, Department of the Interior, Western Area Power Administration, Trout Unlimited, High Country Citizens’ Alliance, and more.