Voters must pull plug on water bond issue |

Voters must pull plug on water bond issue

It seems there’s no slaking the thirst of Front Range legislators.

In the November election, the state Legislature will ask Colorado voters to approve a $2 billion bond issue to build unspecified new dams, diversions and reservoirs.

Western Slope and San Luis Valley residents should join together, take up their shovels and oppose this ballot question.

The bonds would fund a hurry-up raid on Western Slope rivers or the Rio Grande, just so Front Range residents could avoid lawn-watering and car-washing restrictions. The referendum calls for at least one project to be approved by 2005.

In crafting the ballot question via Senate Bill 236, legislators pointedly turned down amendments protecting basins that would lose water to new projects, or requiring local water conservancy districts to approve the projects.

Legislators did drop the dollar value of the bond issue from $10 billion down to $2 billion, but handed the role of approving projects over to the governor.

Western Slope legislators opposed the whole idea, with the pointed exception of state Rep. Gregg Rippy, R-Glenwood Springs. Last week, when the bill was in the House Agriculture Committee, Rippy could have voted no. Instead, his yes vote was among those giving the bill a 7-6 win in committee.

Rippy seems to be listening more to his Front Range colleagues than to his own constituents, who will directly face the consequences of more transmountain water diversions.

In tandem with the legislative action, a Front Range water development advocacy group, the Colorado Water Partnership, is preparing a campaign to put a mirror-image initiative on the state ballot.

Legislators saved them the trouble of petitioning, so the group can focus all its time and money on the ballot campaign. They will be asking for your vote.

Say no, from the start.

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