Feb 272003
Authors: By Christopher J. Ortiz

CSU is considering leasing some of its water rights to help relieve some of the hardship the drought has caused the state.

“Plans are to lease some of CSU’s water rights for the upcoming season to municipals,” said Gerard Bomotti, vice president for administration. Those municipals include the Fort Collins and its school districts.

CSU is currently working on plans to reduce its own water usage.

“We are looking at ways to save water and making it available (to other sources) is a priority,” Bomotti said.

In return the school should see a rebate for saving money and even possibly cash for those water rights.

CSU is considering leasing between 20 and 25 percent of its water rights for next year.

Obviously, during a drought, water rights can turn into very valuable commodities. Depending on how the deal finalizes, CSU may see a hefty return.

“We are studying; we have water rights for 100’s of acre feet and debating that those rights might be more valuable to for the city to use,” said Brain Chase, director of facilities management. Chase said it was a balance issue with the amount of water CSU can conserve without making the landscape on campus more deprived of water.

Chase said that trees, shrubs and the intramural fields on campus would have adequate water during the drought season.

Bomotti predicts the school will receive anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000 for leasing its water rights.

He said most of the money will probably go to CSU’s general account to help with the school’s pyramid of needs during budget cuts.

CSU also owns wells out on the South Campus and the Foothills Campus that it has not used in decades, but Bomotti said the school is considering drilling and reusing them. This means CSU may receive $10,000 more per well CSU if it decides to lease those water rights.

“My issue of the drought is first and foremost,” Bomotti said. “The main motivation in CSU doing this is to be good citizens.”

Bomotti added that he would like to see CSU work so it is following the same watering restrictions as citizens.

Chase agreed, saying that money is not a motivation in the university on this issue.

“It’s more of, ‘how do we help each other in tough time?'” he said. “We are all on the same team.”

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