Durango’s RICD

After a long process of applying for a recreational in-channel diversion (RICD) right through the water courts, a conditional water right was given to the City of Durango in 2007. In November of this year construction began on the Whitewater Park at Smelter Rapids. The construction at Santa Rita Park near Durango’s wastewater-treatment plant resulted in a temporary diversion of the river trail while crews restructured the riverbed. This will allow for more control over the intensity of the rapids. The in-stream work is scheduled to be complete by March, just in time for the spring runoff. Scott McClain, landscape architect for the city of Durango, said the riverbed will be grouted and rocks will be moved to maintain river-flow consistency. During major water runoffs, the rocks can move, changing the rapids, he said, and every so often, the rocks have to be rearranged. This structure is intended to be more permanent. With the changes being made to the river, the city also plans to expand that portion of the trail from 10 feet to 14 feet wide to accommodate the anticipated influx of kayakers and rafters. Cathy Metz, director of Parks & Recreation, said she is satisfied with how the project is going so far. The RICD water right will not be permanent until the boating park is complete.