Appeals Court Upholds Decision to Block Construction of 72-Mile Pipeline in Colorado

(P&GJ) — The Colorado Court of Appeals has upheld Larimer County’s decision to deny the permit tied to the construction of a 72-mile pipeline meant to funnel water from the Cache La Poudre River to residents in Denver, Colorado, the Denver Post reported last week.

The appeals court's decision means that Larimer County's February 11, 2019, denial of Thornton's plan to lay a 48-inch-diameter pipe across 27 miles of county remains in effect. The remaining $423 million pipeline would pass through Weld and Adams counties, according to the Denver Post.

The city said the pipeline — which would transport 40 million gallons of water per day — is necessary to avoid the degradation of water quality which would happen by flowing the water through Fort Collins in the Poudre River.

However, residents argued that the water should flow through Fort Collins before being captured near Windsor and piped south by Thornton.

Thornton purchased the Cache la Poudre River water rights northwest of Fort Collins in 1985, CBS Colorado reported. And, with the city’s rapid growth in the last decade or so of nearly 150,000 people, it said accessing the water is vital to serving future residents.

Initially, Thornton filed a district court lawsuit against Larimer County two months after the denial. The commissioners' decision was upheld by a judge in Larimer County District Court. The city then appealed the decision to the Colorado Court of Appeals.

Thornton said it is critical to eventually obtain the water it owns, informing developers a few years prior that if it cannot obtain enough water, it may have to stop issuing building permits.

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