Colorado Water Congress annual summer meeting: U.S. Representative Cory Gardner — ‘Water projects in Colorado have been set back, delayed or canceled because of federal policies’

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“In Colorado, job creators rely on water and a stable water future,” Gardner said. “If job creators know we are committed to building future water supplies and enacting common-sense conservation policies, it will boost our economy and continue to attract new employers to the state.”[…]

One of the key themes of the summer meeting of Water Congress has been the need for more storage to capture the ample water that flowed out of both the Colorado and South Platte basins this year…

The $400 million Northern Integrated Supply Project, promoted by 15 communities in the Northern Water Colorado Conservancy District, is an example of the type of project that could move more quickly without restrictive federal policies, he said. The storage would benefit agriculture as well as cities, Gardner said, pointing to agricultural losses in Southeastern Colorado this year.

More coverage from Joe Moylan writing for the Craig Daily Press. From the article:

Gardner said he helped pass H.R. 2018, or The Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011, in July. The legislation preserves the authority of each state to make determinations on its own water quality standards and limits Environmental Protection Agency controls that undermine state and local water authorities concerning water management. “I know that some people oppose this legislation,” Gardner said. “But I just happen to believe that Coloradans know best when it comes to their water.”[…]

Gardner pledged to fight for Colorado by abiding to his three-prong strategy that focuses on water storage, water conservation and creating critical partnerships when necessary, without sacrificing Colorado as the leader when it comes to its own water and economy.

“Because of limited storage, good Colorado water is flowing out of the state,” Gardner said. “This water could have been and should have been stored right here, growing our farms and our businesses.

“And, as (State Rep.) Jerry Sonnenberg said, ‘We didn’t even get a thank you note from Nebraska.’”

More coverage from Allen Best writing for the Colorado Independent. From the article:

…Gardner, in his speech at the meeting of the Water Congress, Colorado’s top organization for traditional water providers, said that Colorado and other states should have the right to determine their own water quality. “I just have to believe that Colorado knows what’s best when it comes to their water resources,” he said…

Becky Long, of the Colorado Environmental Coalition…panned the idea of pulling back federal authority. Problems with hormones and petrochemicals persist, and the problem of nutrients creating dead zones isn’t just one found where the Mississippi River pours into the Gulf of Mexico. Grand Lake—the lake, not the town – has the problem too, she pointed out…

Gardner also called for more water storage, a theme of many speakers at this conference. It was, after all, an epic year for water runoff in much of Colorado. A new record for snowfall was set in the state, with Buffalo Pass, located about 8 miles from Steamboat, still having so much snow by late May that there was still seven feet of water content…

Again, environmentalists were not persuaded. “There are different kinds of storage,” observed [Steve Glazer]. Dams to control floods must be kept empty, those to steel communities against drought should be kept full…

As Gardner noted, Aspinall famously noted that when you touch water in the West, you touch everything. But a lot of that stored and diverted water was the result of federal loans and grants–something we aren’t seeing a lot of these days.

Finally, here’s a Tweet from the Colorado River District:

Day1 #ColoradoWater Congress Summer Conf focuses on energy-water nexxus and features Colo Congressmen Tipton and Gardner and state reps

More Colorado Water coverage here and here.

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