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The Bureau of Reclamation has released the long-awaited Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Windy Gap Firming Project. The Project, proposed by the Municipal Subdistrict of Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District would move the Colorado River another step closer to being a "flat lined" river, with flows perpetually at low flow levels. The Bureau of Reclamation has scheduled two public meetings where citizens can offer written and oral comments: one in Loveland on October 7 and one in Granby on October 9.


American Whitewater - Upper Colorado River in danger of being Flat-Lined!
 

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Nathan,

I read the article in the Denver Post the other day and the AW online article to which you posted the link.

How does AW propose they make the WG Firming Project more environmentally sound? Seems like the river can't stand to lose another drop to me?

The WG proposal puts a sinking feeling in my stomach. Shame on Denver Water for not pushing conservation - either voluntarily, or through a rate increase. The easiest way to really achieve conservation would be with a simple price increase.

In the worst of the drought years, when they set up the lawn watering schedules that were practically voluntary in most places, I recall reading that consumption dropped markedly overnight. Why, when the drought let up, didn't they encourage people to continue those practices? Instead, the implied message was, "we have water again. Go ahead and waste it. It's cheap."

The DP article said we need to have 50% more supply to allow for growth in the next X-many years. The "50%" I remember, the year they forecast to need it by, I don't. My argument is that the conservation efforts in 2002-2003 dropped consumption by something like 15% just by ASKING people to use less water. Imagine what you could reduce the consumption by if you priced in the cost of losing a river. I understand they need a baseline revenue to continue operations, but if the unit quantity goes down and price goes up, you should be still be able to model the impact and cover your costs.

The DP article makes it sound like we need the water for growth. I would argue that we don't need the water, rather we have all we need and we just need to consume it more wisely. Household use, yes. Lawn irrigation, no. Until it costs more to water the lawn, people will continue to do so.
 

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People need to understand that the only "unalienable right" they have to water is the right to drink it. Nurturing a mono-cultured lawn in a semi-arid dessert climate is no one's right - in fact it's wrong.
 

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Boaters' best ally in this might be Western Slope ag. As Colorado River flows drop due to "non-human caused climate adjustment" or whatever horse pucky they're calling global warming now, it's going to be the farmers and ranchers out west who get bought out and lose their water, not Longmont. Is AW working with the ag community on blocking this thing? For better or worse, cows > boaters in most politicians' minds.
 

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My thoughts are that this is an opportunity to get recreational releases on gore, byers, fraser, etc. I am not sure if the boating community has enough power to completely stop this. While voicing opposition is good, I think proposing solutions that would be good for us if the thing does go through is also a good idea.

I've submitted my comments and noted that there is no mitigation for the boating and recreation that has been lost. My comment proposed that recreational releases should be implemented to mitigate the loss of boating and recreation.
 

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Interbasin Compact Committee

I would urge all of you to attend and follow the goings on of your interbasin compact committee
Home - Interbasin Compact Committee

They are know as water roundtable boards. Basically, they control the allotted money to your basin. They are involved not only with the river water allotment that affects your basin but also have representatives that attend statewide meetings and who make crucial decisions about where Colorado's water ration goes each year. Many issues are brought up here, even other basins bribing basins for their water. I have attended the Yampa/White/ Green several meetings a year and even tried to become a voting member but it is pretty difficult if you don't hold large water rights, are an ag member, a lawyer, gun or money. There are 2 recreation spots... ours being held by Kent Vertrees, a passionate boater and member of Routt CO. He could be a good contact and may have an email address on the website. He works for Steamboat Powder Cats, and could assist in helping people get involved in their basins.
However, I do believe that they listen to community members AND most of them (especially the ag folks) DO NOT want their water taken downstream. This is, in my experience, the BEST way to get involved. I think it is a huge step in the right direction.
 

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It is reprehensible to think that more water diversion is being considered from the upper Colorado River system.The river is currently suffering from extreme withdrawals of water from its course. Currently, spring runoff is nonexistent, mid-summer water temps are extremely high, and the dilution factor from various discharges of municipal sewage systems is very suspect. The ecosystem which took many thousands of years to develop in sync with the conditions of the environment of the region is already under extreme pressure. Where is the breaking point?

I have lived in the Fraser Valley for 38 years and have witnessed the assault on the Upper Colorado River system from the growth and development interests of Colorado's Front Range with complete disregard for the preservation of the Upper Colorado's natural resources and the tragic consequences that have followed.
 

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Shame on Denver Water for not pushing conservation - either voluntarily, or through a rate increase. The easiest way to really achieve conservation would be with a simple price increase.
Look... you don't understand... I'll try to explain....

Denver Water is run by a bunch of Denver political hacks appointed by the Mayor of Denver. They only care about one thing: getting water for Denver. They accomplish this in the easiest and most effective way with zero regard for anyone else affected. They don't give even the tiniest fuck about anyone or anything besides Denver. They don't care that everyone outside of Denver thinks they are assholes. The only way to alter their plans on anything is to leverage some greater legal power over them.

Do you understand now?
 

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Sorry, but I have to disagree. First of all, I dislike Denver because I am not a fan of cities. I don't go there to shop, have dinner or watch sports. I am absolutely not on their side. However, Denver water has implemented conservation techniques and has done a fairly decent job as far as large cities are concerned. The people that do a terrible job are people in Arizona, a place that simply put, should not have residents, just like southern california. The thing with Denver water is that they ABSOLUTELY have pushed conservation through limiting water usage and charging the people that use more. But what happens is that the people that use more CAN afford to pay for it so they continue to abuse the supply. I am angry, too, that is why I go to the meetings (that sounds like I am in AA) but there are people in CO fighting for water, go and participate, it seriously isn't that hard to get involved if you care.
SummitAP is correct about political hacks but the real assholes are the PRIVATE sector. Check out the "Million Dollar Project" that is pumping water from Flaming Gorge down the i80 corridor back to PRIVATE fucks for big money. Get angry at the right people and GET INVOLVED
 
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