Uravan Mining

The Town of Uravan, located along the lower San Miguel River in Montrose County, was the site of active radium mining in the 1910s and 1920s. From 1936 to 1984 uranium and vanadium mining occurred. The Town and mills were shut down in 1986 after being established as a Superfund site under the Federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. Union Metals Corporation (Umetco) was established in 1984 by Union Carbide, the owner of the Uravan Mill, to address environmental liability issues and reclamation at the Mill. 

Various water rights were historically used at the Club Ranch, headquarters for a cattle ranching company, and at Uravan for irrigation, power, milling, domestic, and associated industrial uses. The Uravan Water Rights include a single priority in the Miguel Power Company Canal and multiple priorities in the Johnson Ditch that have been diverted from and used in the lower San Miguel River basin. 

As part of the Consent decree that established the Remedial Action Plan for the site, the Miguel Power Company Canal water right was deeded to the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB). Johnson Ditch water rights were placed into a trust, to be used for reclamation purposes for the duration of the site cleanup. The water rights are also intended for beneficial uses by valid water rights holders that demonstrate impairment to the exercise of their water rights from water quality conditions caused by historical operation at the Mill. Upon the completion of the reclamation effort, the Johnson Ditch water rights are to be conveyed to the CWCB that has agreed to work with local communities in determining the future use of these water rights.