Like Harvey said in a previous post...Senate Bill 62 will effectively eliminate appropriating water for recreational use. Without this ability, I foresee adequate flows for recreation drying up sometime during our lifetimes as this water gets sucked up for more condos/second homes and keeping the grass green on the Front Range. This will have serious quality of life consequences for all of us river users, Coloradoans at large, and Colorado's economy.
Its time for all of us to take action! I have drafted a form letter, with the help from several knowledgeable enviros and water resource folks, that you can copy and paste to emails to your state representatives. Here is a link that will identify your reps by your zip code and link to their email and contact info: http://www.commoncause.org/siteapps/...b=196434#state
Below is the form letter to make it easy for any and all to have input on this most important issue. It will take only a minute. Put your reps name in the salutation, and sign the letter with your address and phone number. Feel free to draft your own letter, or make any additions or changes. Please also send this alert to those on your email list and/or letters to your local paper. We need an overwhelming show of opposition to this legislation if we hope to defeat it. What is critically important is letting your reps know that their constituents oppose this bill.
Thanks for helping to keep water IN our rivers!
Dear State Representative,
I understand that there is a bill, SB-62, that is coming up for review in the Agriculture committee that will severely curtail if not eliminate the ability to designate water for recreational use. If we dont insure that we have adequate water in our rivers for recreational use, we are hamstringing current and future efforts to improve the flow of tourist dollars into our local and state economies. This bill will affect not only the economic outlook of Colorados future, but also quality of life issues in our communities.
The following are concerns that I have with the amended version of SB 62.
1. Recreational In Channel Diversions (RICDs) already go through a substantial review process, including review by the Colorado Water Conservation Board and issuance of a decree through Water Court. Owners of water rights that may be affected by a proposed recreational in-channel diversion already have an opportunity to make objections in water court.
2. This legislation will make recreational use of water the only water right that has to take into account possible future uses of the water.
3. The current legislation on RICDs (Senate Bill 216 passed in 2001) is presently in review by the Colorado Supreme Court. It is premature to pass another law until the Supreme Court has a chance to weigh in on current law.
4. Mandating a structure to control the quantity of water flowing through the course will affect the feasibility of acquiring new RICDs. Having a control gate either on the river itself or diverting the river through a control gate is antithetical to the purpose of providing in-stream flows for recreational purposes.
5. The 350 cfs cap on allowable recreational water rights is in most cases not enough water to support most recreational activities, and in any event the RICDs should be approached on a case by case basis.
6. Future Needs of the State of Colorado. Tourism is the largest industry in Colorado. Easy access to recreational opportunities is what drives the tourist industry in Colorado. This bill will unnecessarily limit or even eliminate the application of RICDs in the future.
I am not a rafting company owner nor will I in any way benefit financially from having an RICD. I am interested in protecting water resources in the State of Colorado for a variety of uses in the future.
I am a river user and use the water flowing IN our rivers in Colorado. The economic benefits of having adequate water for recreation in our rivers runs into the millions of dollars for many of the sites where RICDs have been acquired to support recreational use of the water.
Tourism is the largest industry in Colorado and Recreation is the backbone of our tourist industry. Easy access to outstanding recreational opportunities is what draws tourists to our state. This bill will significantly hamper efforts to draw tourist dollars into our economy.
I respectfully request that you vote against SB-62 as it is currently written.