Plans For Water Project Scrapped, Environmentalists Applaud Move

A 25 year battle over a water diversion proposal for the Gunnison River ended when proponents decide not to pursue the project. The A.B. Lateral Project would have doubled the amount of water diverted from the headwaters of the river. They would have gone through the Gunnison Tunnel to a power plant proposed to be built near Montrose.

Sithe Energies was a financial backer of the project. The company decided to pull out of the deal because mounting legal costs and continued court battles. The Uncompahgre Water Wsers Association had hoped to use revenue from the power plant to upgrade irrigation systems.

Environmental groups are pleased with the decision to end the project, claiming the water diversion would have hurt water flows in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and fishery habitat.

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