The Fort Lyon Canal is the largest irrigation system in the State of Colorado extending over 100 miles and irrigating nearly 100,000 acres of farm land in southeast Colorado.
The Fort Lyon Canal is one of the most senior water rights in the Arkansas River system with decree dates in 1884, and other additional decreed rights from 1887 & 1893. The Fort Lyon Canal diverts up to 933 cfs of water from the lower Arkansas River. Through August 18, 2015 Pure Cycle Corporation owned approximately 19,000 shares of the Fort Lyon Canal Company; which represents about 19% of the canal company.
Pure Cycle sold its 14,600 acres of farm land along the Fort Lyon Canal. Pursuant to the terms of the sale Pure Cycle will continue to manage the farms through December 2015. We lease our farm land to approximately 80 tenant farmers in the area under both a cash and crop share leases. Annual farm income from leasing is projected to generate approximately $1,000,000 in 2015. Our farms currently produce the following crops:
The Fort Lyon system is unique in that it has two diversion points on the river. The “storage canal” diverts from the Arkansas River at a point approximately 6 miles upstream from Rocky Ford and transports large quantities of water (at a rate of up to about 900 cfs) to the two storage reservoirs: Horse Creek Reservoir (with a storage capacity of 28,000 acre feet), and Adobe Creek Reservoir (with a storage capacity of 87,000 acre feet). The “main canal” diverts from the river approximately 30 miles downstream from the storage canal and supplies water to approximately 100,000 acres of irrigated farm land.
The Fort Lyon Canal, being the largest and last river diversion before John Martin Reservoir and is uniquely positioned to work cooperatively with the other six major canal systems situated between Pueblo Reservoir and John Martin Reservoir to develop alternate agricultural transfer projects. By not requiring exchanges of water up the river, water quality and quantity protection to existing water users is maintained. Cooperative alternate transfer projects, such as rotational fallowing, can provide additional income opportunities for agricultural water owners as well as new water supplies for municipal industrial uses and can benefit both Arkansas Valley and front range interests.