The Northwest Colorado Council of Governments has released a report about the importance of water to Colorado’s headwaters counties


From The Aspen Times (Scott Condon):

Pitkin County provides an estimated annual average of nearly 99,000 acre-feet via transmountain diversions to the Eastern Slope, according to the study, “Water and Its Relationship to the Economies of the Headwater Counties.” To put that amount into perspective, Ruedi Reservoir holds slightly more than 100,000 acre-feet. Among the headwater counties along the spine of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, only Grand County loses more than Pitkin County through diversions. It supplies 307,500 acre-feet annually. Summit and Eagle counties are well behind Pitkin County in water diverted to the Eastern Slope. Gunnison and Routt counties are virtually untapped.

The mountain counties don’t want to suffer environmental or economic consequences from future diversions. An association that lobbies on their behalf, the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, commissioned the study to show how vital adequate water supplies are not only to the mountain communities but also to the entire state…

The study isn’t intended to pit the mountain headwater counties against the Eastern Plains, said author Jean Townsend of the Denver firm Coley/Forest Inc. The headwater counties are simply saying, “There’s an economic impact to us, too,” she said. Pitkin County and the other headwater areas depend on streamflows for fishing, camping and boating activities. Townsend also noted that Aspen has a worldwide appeal. Its economy is built partially on real estate sales and service to second-homeowners. About 47 percent of homes in Pitkin County are owned by out-of-state residents…

A second message is that Colorado’s economy as a whole is dependent on a healthy mountain environment. The mountains not only draw people to the state and support a strong tourism industry, they also make Denver and the rest of the Front Range more attractive for businesses.

More transmountain/transbasin diversions coverage here.

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