Chris Treese: With all of these [pipeline projects] we have the same concern…that they are going to take us to the edge of the cliff and perhaps push us over with them

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The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel editorial staff weighs in on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans for scoping sessions for the Flaming Gorge pipeline (Regional Watershed Supply Project). From the article:

Now that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is evaluating a grandiose proposal to pump water from Flaming Gorge Reservoir in southern Wyoming to Colorado’s Front Range, one might think that the federal agency would schedule hearings in the region that stands to lose the most if the plan proceeds: Colorado’s Western Slope. Not so. In fact, two public meetings set for next week will both be held in Wyoming, one in Green River and one in Laramie…

“We know how it will be allocated,” said Chris Treese, with the Colorado River Water Conservation District in Glenwood Springs. “If it’s all being consumed in Colorado, then it will all come from Colorado’s entitlement” under the Colorado River Basin Compact. And Colorado’s entitlement under that compact all comes from the Western Slope — from the Colorado River and its tributaries. The estimated 250,000 acre feet of water a year that the Flaming Gorge pipeline project is to use would supposedly come out of the unused portion of Colorado’s entitlement. The problem is, “We don’t really know what Colorado’s remaining entitlement is,” Treese said. That’s why the state allocated $1 million two years ago to study how much water is currently being consumed from the Colorado River and its tributaries…

Furthermore, [Aaron Million’s] project isn’t the only one seeking to use potentially hundreds of thousands of acre feet of water from what remains of this state’s Colorado River entitlement. A northeastern Colorado water group has proposed a project to pump water from the Yampa River to the Front Range. And the demands that a commercial oil shale industry could place on Western Slope water remain uncertain, but substantial. “With all of these we have the same concern,” Treese said. “That they are going to take us to the edge of the cliff and perhaps push us over with them.”

The water availability question is one that needs to be answered before the Army Corps of Engineers proceeds much further with its examination of the Flaming Gorge pipeline project.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

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