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The city of Aurora, Colorado, Rocky Ford High Line Lease for Municipal Drought Recovery was nominated to the 2005 ICMA Annual Awards Program. In 2002, the worst drought ever recorded in history hit Colorado. Aurora was severely impacted by the drought, which left the city's reservoir levels at an all-time low in 2003, at just 26 percent full. With the city just nine months away from being without any water resources and consumption restrictions not achieving a full recovery, Aurora partnered with shareholders in the Rocky Ford High Line Water Canal. Aurora established a first of its kind short-term lease in a large-scale manner for drought recovery. The leasing structure is now seen as a model of cooperation throughout Colorado, a state well known for contentious water battles.

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