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Archive for Saturday, September 4, 2004

Kansas, Colorado to argue water case

September 4, 2004

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— Arguments in the long-running water dispute between Colorado and Kansas will be heard next month by the Supreme Court.

Denver water lawyer David Robbins will represent Colorado at the Oct. 4 hearing and will argue that Colorado should only have to pay Kansas $29 million for violating the Arkansas River Compact.

Kansas is seeking $53 million.

Kansas sued in 1984 claiming that Colorado was withholding too much water from the Arkansas River as it flowed into Kansas. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Kansas in 1995, but still at issue is how much Colorado owes for taking the water and how the compact should be enforced in the future.

Colorado state engineer Hal Simpson has applied new rules to bring the wells into compliance with the compact, Deputy Atty. Gen. Ken Lane said. Kansas disputes that contention.

At the beginning of the case, Kansas sought $322 million in damages. However, Arthur Littleworth, a California water lawyer appointed by the Supreme Court to review Kansas' claims, has recommended the damages be set at $29 million.

Littleworth has upheld Colorado's proposed method for measuring water use but he has sided with Kansas on how to calculate the use of water for growing crops.

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