Club 20 opposes state water bonds |

Club 20 opposes state water bonds

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) – A committee of the influential Western Slope lobbying group Club 20 voted overwhelmingly on Monday to recommend that voters defeat a proposal for up to $2 billion in bonds for water projects.

The Club 20 Natural Resource Committee voted 20-5 for a resolution opposing a referendum on the November ballot authorizing the bonds.

Club 20, which represents 22 counties and two Ute Indian tribes, lobbies state government on Western Slope issues. Its members include legislators, other elected officials and business people.

Club 20’s board of directors will take up the water bond resolution on Sept. 5, although club President Reeves Brown said in June the group wouldn’t take a position.

Members of the Natural Resource Committee faulted the referendum for not specifying what projects the bonds would finance and not offering help for communities that might be hurt by water projects.

They also expressed concerns about the money being spent to benefit primarily the Front Range.

The referendum, prompted by a severe drought that culminated in the state’s driest year on record last year, calls for the projects to be chosen by the state Water Conservation Board and approved by the governor.

Greg Walcher, director of the Department of Natural Resources and a former president of Club 20, tried to reassure the committee by saying six of the Water Conservation Board’s nine voting members are from rural areas and have Western Slope ties.

Walcher argued that the referendum was vital to protect against future droughts.

“You can do nothing, but then our grandkids are going to wonder the next time there’s a big drought why we didn’t do anything,” he said.

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