Letter: In times of drought, everyone suffers
In response to Carol Anderson’s recent letter, “Water taken from Kannah Creek still felt today:”
As outlined in my recent column, the City of Grand Junction did acquire by eminent domain a portion of the water in Kannah Creek for the city’s use. It was a proceeding in “condemnation,” determined necessary by the city aldermen. Not untypical in a period when cities needed a firm water supply to survive, the Paramount Water Right was awarded to the city after a trial in District Court. A jury determined the fair market value of the water and this amount was paid to the ranchers. It was not a happy day for the ranchers in Kannah Creek and it colored many of the relationships among the city and the farmers for the next 100 years.
The story is a cautious lesson of how a city can obtain needed water, not only in 1911 but also in 2015.
In times of drought, the city suffered as did the ranchers. Over time, the city provided stock water to the ranchers, allowing them to construct piped water to their farms. Eventually the stock water systems were purchased by the city and replaced with a treated water system that operates today in Kannah Creek, immunizing the ranchers from the lack of drinking water caused by drought.
Eventually the farmers and the city did forge a working relationship, sharing ditch and canal management responsibilities. The Grand Mesa Pool is one example of shared reservoir operation duties that has been beneficial to both sides for many years.
Mrs. Anderson is a keen observer of the historical workings of Kannah and Whitewater Creeks, producing two wonderful books of an era long gone.
Greg Trainor (ret.)
Grand Junction, Colo.
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