Letter: Water taken from Kannah Creek stilll felt today
The column by Greg Trainor, retired public works director, on “Agriculture & urban-water partnerships” (2-27-15 issue of the Grand Junction Free Press) requires a comment.
I have lived in the Kannah Creek valley for years and I have authored two books on that area — “Kannah Creek: The People, Their Stories & The History,” as well as a sister-book entitled “Whitewater: The People, Their Stories & The History.” These books involved 10 years of research and personal interviews with the old-timers of that area, plus our own personal experiences with this city.
I find this column, as all our correspondence and interactions with city employees, to be very inaccurate and slanted to their heavy-handed, distorted and financially endowed advantage.
In the later 1800s, the city of Grand Junction decided they “needed” the water from Kannah Creek more than the people who settled the area and dug the original reservoirs; and so they stepped in and bullied their way into vast water resources without concern for the ranchers and landowners. In 1911 the ranchers brought suit against the city; and being vastly under-endowed with resources to fight this self-supported “giant,” they were finally awarded a small percentage of the value of the water they were forced to give up.
To quote Trainer: “’Mountain water … at any price’ was a directive of the City of Grand Junction in the late 1890s; and it resulted in the city acquiring, via eminent domain, the most paramount water right from ranchers along Grand Mesa’s Kannah Creek. It was only a sliver of each ranch’s water right …”
That is an outrageous exaggeration of what the city stole from those ranchers, and the affect is still felt today.
It is of note that Trainor’s “tune” has changed a bit since he is no longer employed by the city, stating a “concern” with the needs of agriculture today. And what does he propose they use for water now that it belongs to the city?
If you drove along Kannah Creek Road during the drought of 2002, and other drought years, you would see dried up, worthless hay fields and pastures (lost source of familial support), as well as many now dried up, useless parcels of land. And in the city? Water flowing down the curb and into the sewer! Hmmmmmm.
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