Gardner Bolts Ditch and Arkansas Valley Conduit Legislation Receive Favorable Hearing

Washington, DC – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s Water and Power Subcommittee today held a hearing on legislation introduced by Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) - the Bolts Ditch Access and Use Act and legislation that aims to expedite the Arkansas Valley Conduit project. Bent County Commissioner and President of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District Board of Directors Bill Long testified in support of proposed Arkansas Valley Conduit legislation.


“Both the Bolts Ditch and Arkansas Valley Conduit legislation are important to Colorado and will provide greater local control over our state’s water resources,” said Gardner. “I introduced these bills because I understand Coloradans know best when it comes to managing our water, and we must ensure Coloradans have access to the resources they need.


“The Arkansas Valley Conduit project was originally approved in the 1960s under President Kennedy, yet the project has not moved forward. Colorado has waited far too long to see this project become a reality, and my bill recognizes that by allowing for expedited construction of the Conduit project. I will continue to work with my colleagues to move the Arkansas Valley Conduit legislation and the Bolts Ditch Access and Use Act through the legislative process.”


Officials from the United States Bureau of Reclamation and Forest Service both testified during the hearing and stated their support for moving these bills forward.

[Click here to watch Senator Gardner question witnesses about his legislation]


  • Authorized in the 1960s, the Arkansas Valley Conduit project in Southeast Colorado will deliver clean drinking water to local communities across the region upon completion. Gardner’s bill extends greater flexibility to the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District by allowing the maximum use of miscellaneous revenue collected from the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project to be immediately reinvested into the Arkansas Valley Conduit once construction begins.  
  • When Holy Cross Wilderness Area was designated by Congress in 1980, Bolts Ditch was inadvertently left off of the list of existing water facilities. Gardner’s Bolts Ditch Access and Use Act would authorize special use of the Bolts Ditch headgate and the segment of the Bolts Ditch within the Holy Cross Wilderness Area, allowing Minturn to use its existing water right to fill Bolts Lake. 




Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.


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