Letter: Look forward for water answers
It is my understanding that in any given year, 25-40 percent of the water in the Colorado River is diverted to various Front Range entities. Over time, these diversions along with overuse from downstream users is having a devastating effect on the water levels in Lake Powell and on the ecology of the Grand Canyon and lower Colorado River.
In addition to their recreational and ecological importance, both the Lake Powell National Recreation area and Grand Canyon National Park are “treasury positive.” That is, they put money back into the U.S. treasury.
The compilation of suggestions from water professionals and the public at our recent basin roundtable meetings overwhelmingly supports implementing water conservation techniques. Yet despite all the submitted recommendations, the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) is still pushing for another series of water diversions from the Western Slope to the Front Range.
This is what I call classic “rear-view-mirror thinking” as opposed to “21st century thinking.” Money that would be appropriated to study and build another transmountain diversion should be used to provide grants to ranchers and farmers for better piping and 21st century watering systems.
Giving the crops only the amount of water they need will allow unused water to be left in our river systems as an “exchange.” This grant system would be an economic benefit to farming and ranching, pipe system manufacturing, engineering and design, and new water technology initiatives from our universities.
I applaud our county commissioners for hosting the next water summit with representatives from the CWCB here on the Western Slope. Many have worked hard and spent a lot of their time compiling these suggestions at the request of the governor and state water officials. The CWCB needs to implement these suggestions otherwise the basin roundtable meetings will represent nothing more than the illusion of inclusion.
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