Diverse multi-year or one-time projects
Martin and Wood assists clients with their water resource and water rights-related technical projects. Our work ranges from multi-year projects which go through water court and multiple administrative approvals to one-time analyses of water quality and well performance.
Here's a sampling of some of the notable and diverse projects we've done.
Water Rights Engineering
Colorado’s First Approved Rotational Leasing Fallowing Pilot Project (an ATM - Alternative Water Transfer Method)
In January 2015, the Colorado Water Conservation Board approved the first Rotational Fallowing Leasing Pilot Project under HB 13-1248 (codified at C.R.S. § 37-60-115(8)). The approved Catlin Pilot Project is a ten-year pilot project that will involve the rotational fallowing of approximately 1,200 acres irrigated under the Catlin Canal in the Arkansas River Basin to generate up to 500 acre-feet of water available for lease to three municipal participants. The Catlin Pilot Project will be operated by the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District and the Lower Arkansas Valley Super Ditch Company, Inc. Alternative transfer methods such as rotational fallowing are a key component of the Colorado Water Plan.
Martin and Wood is providing the water resources and water rights technical expertise on this project which provides a way to increase water available to municipal suppliers without permanently drying up agricultural land (“buy and dry”). Work includes calculation of historical consumptive use, review of aerial photographs, working with ditch riders, complicated water rights accounting, projection of water supplies, maintenance of return flow obligations, implementation of a Pay As You Go strategy, and extensive coordination between water attorneys, State water officials, other water users in the Arkansas River Basin, and ditch company employees.
Expert Witness for Applicant in Division 2 Water Court
Donald E. Dill, Cathie G. Dill, Jerry R. Pierce and Frances M. Pearce filed an application for absolute surface water rights for springs tributary to Stout Creek, which is tributary to the Arkansas River. The Applicants encountered resistance to their claims from a downstream water user who asserted that the appropriation would cause injury to his water rights.
Martin and Wood assisted the Applicant by conducting two sites visits, completing extensive engineering analyses, and preparing two disclosures supporting the application. Martin and Wood provided expert testimony at trial and at a costs hearing. The Water Court Judge ruled in favor of the Applicants on all claims for both the trial and the costs hearing, denying all of the Objector’s claims for both the trial and the costs hearing. The objectors appealed the Water Court’s ruling to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court upheld the Water Court’s ruling.
Water Supply for Oil & Gas Operations in the Cheyenne Basin
Martin and Wood designed, performed well construction, development and testing observation activities, along with single and multi-well pump testing interpretations on an 8-well wellfield, with ultimate buildout expected to reach at least 16 wells. Total wellfield production is expected to approach 44,130 barrels per day (1,853,280 gallons per day). Martin and Wood also assessed the impacts of well-to-well interference and used the 8-well pumping data to help design an additional 8-well wellfield in a deeper part of the basin where well yields have proved to increase.
Coalbed Methane (CBM) Produced Water Work in the Central Raton Basin of Colorado
As part of our work for four CBM producers in the Raton Basin, in southern Colorado near Trinidad, Martin and Wood developed multiple one-year Substitute Water Supply Plans (SWSPs) that required replacement of the depletions to the Purgatoire and Apishapa Rivers caused by pumping of CBM wells in producing areas of the Raton and Vermejo Formations where the groundwater was considered tributary. The depletion calculations were carried out utilizing the Central Raton Basin Groundwater Flow Model and considered the actual historical water pumping for over 2,000 producing tributary wells and projected pumping for newly constructed or planned wells potentially placed into production during the SWSP plan year. Once the depletion volumes were obtained, the SWSP application indicating how out-of-priority depletions would be replaced was prepared and submitted to the Division of Water Resources for review and approval each year. This required working with the Division to develop acceptable accounting forms and reporting procedures. Following the approval of the SWSPs, Martin and Wood was responsible for interfacing with the CBM Producers, Division Engineer, and local Water Commissioners for administration and implementation of the SWSP.
Martin and Wood continues to work for the CBM Producers regarding augmentation supplies, storage ponds, calculation of depletions, and the long-term plan to prevent injury to senior water rights holders through an augmentation plan currently pending in Case No. 10CW02, Division 2.
Bluff Lake Nature Center (pro bono)
Bluff Lake Nature Center is a nonprofit agency that owns and manages a unique urban wildlife refuge and outdoor classroom in Denver. The refuge is home to an abundance of animals and native plants, which thrive in a variety of habitats.
Each year, nearly 5,000 area elementary students visit Bluff Lake as part of our mission “to foster environmental education and stewardship at Bluff Lake, a unique urban wildlife refuge.” Thousands of visitors come to Bluff Lake each year to enjoy a few moments of solace and connection to nature.
The Center includes Bluff Lake, a shallow 8-acre body of water whose supply derives chiefly from storm water drainage outfalls, and is intermittent. In 2014 Martin and Wood chose to lend a hand to the Center, pro bono, in its efforts to obtain a reliable supply of water to enhance the enjoyment of the Center by both wildlife and people.