Regional Pool

Leasing Water Through the Regional Pool Program

The Regional Pool Program provides Colorado-Big Thompson (C-BT) Project allottees a mechanism to lease water they do not need in the current water year to other water users for use in the following year. The program is administered pursuant to a rule adopted by the Northern Water Board of Directors in 2005 and modified June 2018. 

2020 Regional Pool Program 

The Northern Water Board of Directors allocated 15,000 acre-feet of Regional Pool Program water during its May 14, 2020, Board meeting. Bids were opened June 1, 2020; the preliminary results are posted below.  

Regional Pool Program Development

Early in 2003, C-BT Project allottees and Northern Water staff began discussing ways to improve the effectiveness of several related C-BT Project programs to meet water demands during droughts. These discussions led to changes in the Annual Carryover Program and creation of the Carryover Capacity Transferability Program, which have both been in use since 2004. 

Discussions of the significance of the C-BT Project as a supplemental water supply also led to creation of the Regional Pool Program. Developed in 2005, the Northern Water Board of Directors can only allocate Regional Pool Program water when C-BT Project storage exceeds a certain threshold. The first Regional Pool Program allocation did not take place until this condition was first met in 2010. 

Regional Pool Program Documents

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Regional Pool Program FAQS 

Where does the Regional Pool Program water come from? 

At the end of every water year on Oct. 31, account entities are allowed to carry over a portion of their unused C-BT Project water into the new water year. Unused water in excess of an account entities carryover limits accrue to the Regional Pool. If an account entity elects not to pay for the storage of carryover water, that water also accrues to the Regional Pool.

How and when is water allocated from the Regional Pool? 

According to the Regional Pool Program rule, the Northern Water Board of Directors may allocate water from the Regional Pool only when C-BT Project reserves (as calculated in mid-November) exceed 200,000 acre-feet. The rule limits the size of Regional Pool allocations to 62,000 acre-feet per year. If the Board elects to make Regional Pool water available for lease, it may do so at any of its regularly scheduled monthly Board meetings starting in January. If the Board does not allocate all of the Regional Pool water in a given month, it can make more water available incrementally through September. 

Who gets to use the Regional Pool water? 

All Regional Pool water will be available through a competitive sealed bid process. Once it is allocated, water will be leased to qualified water users who submit the highest bid per acre-foot. Both C-BT Project allottees and non-allottees can lease water from the Regional Pool. Revenue generated by Regional Pool Program leases will ultimately be distributed back to the account entities that provided water to the pool. 

How can the water be used?

Regional Pool Program water may only be leased for uses authorized by Northern Water and only within Northern Water’s boundaries. You do not have to be an allottee to bid on or use Regional Pool Program water.

Will the Regional Pool Program restrict an entity’s ability to lease its own C-BT Project water?

Absolutely not. The Board will continue to declare an annual quota to owners of C-BT Project allotment contracts. Allottees will continue to have the flexibility to lease all, or a portion, of their respective quota water to other water users within Northern Water boundaries. 

Contact Information

Water Scheduling, 970-292-2500, regionalpool@northernwater.org

Sarah Smith, 970-622-2295