Arkansas River Basin Water Forum

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Here’s a recap of the second day of the Arkansas River Basin Water Forum, from Chris Woodka writing for the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

The creation of a Fountain Creek District, passed by the state Legislature this week and awaiting Gov. Bill Ritter’s signature, represents the fruit of more than two years of discussions that will lead to action, rather than just another plan. “Having grown up along that creek, I want to make it a living entity that both Colorado Springs and Pueblo can enjoy,” Pueblo County Commissioner Jeff Chostner told the Arkansas River Basin Forum Wednesday. “This is a real opportunity to create and preserve those traditional things about Fountain Creek that we enjoy.” About 150 people at- tended the two-day forum at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

Chostner, along with Carol Baker of Colorado Springs Utilities and Heather Bergman of the Keystone Center, recounted the process that began with finger-pointing and is coming to conclusion in the form of a new district which will make funding projects in the no-man’s land between Pueblo and Fountain possible. The effort to form the district began in 2006, after more than a year of harsh rhetoric following major sewage spills into Fountain Creek in 2005 – only the latest incident in a long history of disputes. Chostner said there is still “mutually assured distrust” between the two radically different counties in the new district: Pueblo and El Paso. The difference is that a new nine-member board will take on decisions by consensus, instead of conflict. “You can build all the castles in the air you want and dream about what projects you want to do on the creek, but without money, you can’t get anything done,” Chostner said. “Ultimately, the controversy can’t go on forever.”

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

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