Ditch, reservoir convention to tackle water, climate issues

Event in Ignacio in February

Keywords: Ignacio, Water,
The Ditch and Reservoir Company Alliance’s 15th annual convention will be held in Ignacio this year. The organization helps ditch companies, irrigation districts, farmers and ranchers exchange information about issues that affect them. Enlargephoto

JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald file

The Ditch and Reservoir Company Alliance’s 15th annual convention will be held in Ignacio this year. The organization helps ditch companies, irrigation districts, farmers and ranchers exchange information about issues that affect them.

The Ditch and Reservoir Company Alliance will hold its 15th annual convention Feb. 15-17 in Ignacio.

The nonprofit, founded in 2001, helps Colorado ditch companies, irrigation districts, farmers, ranchers and water professionals network and share information. The annual event focuses on issues that affect them, and this year includes talks on climate change, Colorado water legislation and water transfer methods.

Several workshops are on the agenda, including sessions on how to deal with neighbors living along a ditch system, and how ditch companies can use drones for land-surveying.

Officials from the Southwestern Water Conservation District, Mountain Studies Institute and other local organizations are slated to give presentations.

“Our talk is going to focus on climate change in relation to water resources in the region, and how changes in the timing of snowpack accumulation and melt impacts the timing of river flows in relation to agricultural uses,” said Rory Cowie, water resources program director at Mountain Studies Institute. “We’ll talk about the Colorado River basin in general as well as some specifics to the Animas River.”

John McKenzie, DARCA executive director, said the event is held in different locations throughout the state each year to understand water issues specific to companies in particular regions of Colorado.

“We like to work with local and county governments to help them revise their land-use codes to be more friendly to ditch companies, help them stay in business and create an easier environment for them,” McKenzie said. “With population growth, there is a lot of pressure on those companies in regard to things like easements and liability.”

DARCA representatives plan to meet with Animas-La Plata Project officials and leaders of the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribes during a pre-convention tour of La Plata County and the reservations on Feb. 15.

The convention will be at the Sky Ute Casino Resort, 14324 Colorado Highway 172, in Ignacio.

A complete agenda and registration rates can be found at darca.org.

jpace@durangoherald.com