Water talk Friday in Rifle | PostIndependent.com

Water talk Friday in Rifle

RIFLE – The Middle Colorado River Watershed Partnership will play host to a seminar on the Colorado River on Friday in Rifle.

Eric Kuhn, general manger of the Colorado River Water Conservation District, will discuss how the Colorado River is managed, what water goes where (and why), and the major issues facing the long-term viability of the river and its resources.

The Colorado River, which provides water and power to around 30 million people in seven states and two nations, makes up one of the most complex – and important – river systems in America. Kuhn says the complexion of water management in the Colorado River Basin is changing. “Until very recently, the basic assumption has been that if we needed additional water supplies, the water was there.” Kuhn said that now “there is a growing consensus that within the Colorado River system as a whole, the existing demand for water now exceeds the available supply.”

Kuhn said that addressing growing uncertainties about the Colorado River will require adoption of three broad strategies: “Identifying and avoiding unacceptable outcomes, maintaining effective working relationships among stakeholders, and increasing focus and reliance on the use of science in decisionmaking.” Dave Kanzer, who works with Kuhn and the Colorado River Water Conservation District and also sits on the MCRWP steering committee, noted that those strategies are directly in line with what the MCRWP is trying to do at a local scale. “We want to understand potential threats to the system, learn to work effectively with diverse stakeholders, and develop sound scientific information to support decisions,” Kanzer said.

Friday’s seminar is the most recent in a series that the watershed partnership is hosting. Upcoming seminars will cover trends in regional water management, municipal water systems, agricultural water issues, and connections between water, growth and development. Local educator Mike Wilde, who also sits on the MCRWP steering committee, said education is a “top priority” for the Middle Colorado River Partnership. “Understanding our local rivers and watersheds, as well as the larger Colorado River system, is critical to a collaborative approach to watershed management and stewardship,” added Wilde.

The Middle Colorado River Watershed Partnership is a volunteer effort that is seeking collaborative approaches to protecting and enhancing the Middle Colorado River Watershed. Friday’s presentation will be followed by a regular meeting of the partnership from 9:30-11 a.m., and the public is encouraged to attend. For more information visit: http://sites.google.com/site/midcoriverpartnership/

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