Stand firm on Shoshone water right |

Stand firm on Shoshone water right

The Colorado River Water Conservation District board did absolutely the right thing Tuesday in voting against any relaxation of the critical Shoshone power plant water rights.

This water right means far more to the Western Slope than the 5 megawatts of electricity the plant, owned by Xcel Energy, produces.

It ensures viable river flows in winter, when the Colorado River trout fishery needs the water, and in late summer, when boaters count on the rights to keep the fun flowing in Glenwood Canyon.

The 15-member River District board left open the possibility of relaxing the water right come springtime. But this newspaper believes that once such a move is made, it would not be long before Denver buys out the power plant entirely, turning it off or on to accommodate its endless thirst.

Front Range water users already import massive amounts of water from Western Slope rivers. The Shoshone water right and far bigger irrigation rights in Mesa County play key roles in preventing more transmountain water diversions.

While this remains Xcel’s decision, the Shoshone right should absolutely stay intact.

– Heather McGregor, Managing Editor

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