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Old 10-02-2006   #1
TimWalker's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 205
Huge Water Project A Possibility For Front Range...

...FROM THE GREEN RIVER - READ THE ARTICLE IN CO BIZ. I first saw this article in the Denver Post and it was interesting and alarming. The full ariticle is in Colorado Biz Today. I think a plan with conservation provisions would possibly make sense for our selfish interests as kayakers as a new delivery system could alleviate the demands on traditional Western slope water. Any of you water rights hobbyist or environmentalist want to chime in to start the debate. I see good and bad, but looks pretty good when compared to a Two Forks or other mountain storage projects.



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Old 10-02-2006   #2
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 524
That proposal isn't harmless from a boater-centric world view. Depending on from where this would pull the water, multi-day canyon trips could be seriously affected. Flaming Gorge is currently required to release a minimum of 800 cfs through the summer, which provides just barely enough to run raft trips down Lodore and Desolation during dry years. If you start sucking 200,000 acre-feet out of Browns Park, those runs become impassable in a raft. If you release more from Flaming Gorge to meet the draw, the lake will drop too much for the houseboat industry to keep running. Less water will flow into Lake Powell, too, keeping levels down and preventing those houseboats from cruising. So the lost recreation revenue is one counter to the plan.

More pertinent, perhaps, is the "Law of the River." When the Colorado River Compact (CRC) was written, the lower basin states got first dibs on the water. It was mentioned in the article that during a dry year, California could put a "call" to the upper basin, and upper basin use would get shut off. Had the 04-05 snowpack not been above average, Lake Powell would have drained enough to force a call (it reached ~30% before that spring's run-off). The seven states basically held their breath and prayed, so there is still no drought allocation system in place. Since the CRC allocates more water than is actually in the system, the "extra" water flowing down the Green is what has prevented CO & UT to face up to their under-allocation.

If the Front Range wants to keep growing (please don't), it's time to embrace water use the Las Vegas way: pay people to tear up their Kentucky Bluegrass
In the last few years, Vegas has added something like 200,000 people and is using LESS water than before! Time for Denver to follow the lead...

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Old 10-03-2006   #3
TimWalker's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 205
Yes, I'm totally in favor of eliminating blue grass in residential developments (I like grass at the parks and golf courses.) I think an incentive plan funded by incremental tier price increases to pay for the incentives would be a good approach for encouraging people to change their landscapes. Also, stop the builders from putting in blue grass to cover up a sandy lot. As for recreation, unfortunately, I think recreation always takes a backseat to the water laws that were established before all of us became hedonists. I think we have much to do in terms of demand management before tapping more supply issues - for the most part, anyways.
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Old 10-03-2006   #4
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 67
water projects are bad!!!!!!!! we should be taking out all the dams. towns and cities should grow no larger than ther local water can suport. free the water free flowing rivers are better for everyone.
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Old 10-03-2006   #5
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 103
Jeez, where do you start with this one?
1. Remember prop 2B, just a couple of years ago? Voters rejected a "big straw" water project. This is just big straw 2.
2. You think that Utah and the lower basin states won't fight this? Dream on!
The whole CO river is already over-appropriated.
3. I think that a couple billion dollars could be sent a little more productively than this. Like maybe invest it in conservation.
4. And (this is where I always get somebody riled up), over 80% of the water used in CO goes to ag. I think we want farmers in CO, but in drought years, it might make sense to buy some of them out. Or invest that couple billion in water conservation on the farm.
5. Last, doesn't anyone think that this is just morally and ethically wrong? The Green makes one tiny little loop into Colorado. Most of that loop sits in Dinosaur Natl Park. The rest sits in a wildlife refuge. So we're going to go and suck the river dry and send the water 250 miles to the front range? Wow.
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