Parker: Recall of Parker Water and Sanitation board fails

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From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

A proposed water-rate hike last year prompted the campaign to oust four members as irresponsible. Board members backtracked, but campaigners pushed on. The results — board president Mary Spencer survived by 30 votes, Root by 7, Mike Casey by 58 — won’t be final until Dec. 30, Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Jack Arrowsmith said. At least one race requires a recount.

Parker’s 12-month tussle reflects rising tension over water in Front Range suburbs, where water managers are struggling to obtain and divert renewable water from mountain rivers as local groundwater supplies dwindle. “This is the kind of battle we’ll see played out with greater frequency as the demands on these finite water resources intensify,” said water expert David Getches, dean of the University of Colorado law school and former state director of natural resources. “We’ve allowed, in Colorado, whole subdivisions and whole communities to be built on nonrenewable water supplies.” Parker’s five-member board oversees the water supply for more than 22,000 people southeast of Denver who rely on 30 wells, from 51 to 2,745 feet deep, that draw fewer and fewer gallons per minute. State data show water tables falling 30 feet a year…

Frank Jaeger, the water-district manager, is leading a drive to divert upper Colorado River Basin water to Denver suburbs from western Wyoming. The $230 million Rueter-Hess reservoir under construction near Parker — one of Colorado’s biggest water- storage projects in decades — would hold that water, along with creek runoff and reused water treated at a new high-tech chemical plant. Jaeger’s district, established in 1962, is one of dozens created after developers built subdivisions across semi- arid terrain and left decisionmaking to the residents. Now, boards face difficult decisions as economic doldrums limit residents’ abilities to pay higher water rates…

“What we learned is, we weren’t doing a very good job of educating the public,” [accountant Darcy Beard] said. “The cost of water in Colorado is never going to go down. We live in a high-desert environment.”

More Parker coverage here.

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