‘Some people’s lives depend upon the river, some use it for inspiration’ — Geoff Blakeslee #COWaterPlan

New supply development concepts via the Front Range roundtables
New supply development concepts via the Front Range roundtables

From Steamboat Today (Tom Ross):

People in Northwest Colorado — business owners, people who recreate on rivers, farmers, ranchers and anyone who drinks water — are being encouraged to attend one of four upcoming meetings kicking off efforts to plan for future water needs in the combined Yampa, White and Green river basins and across the state.

Yampa/White/Green river basins via the Colorado Geological Survey
Yampa/White/Green river basins via the Colorado Geological Survey

More from Steamboat Today:

Why should people care? The Statewide Water Supply Initiative predicts that the gap between water supply and demand could exceed 500,000 acre feet by 2050. The capacity of Elkhead Reservoir between Hayden and and Craig is 25,550 acre feet.

Former Moffat County Commissioner Tom Gray, who continues to serve on the Roundtable, said this is an important opportunity but not the last chance for people who have a stake in water management to be heard.

“We’re just one of seven basins in Colorado, and this is a chance for each of the basins to have input on identifying their needs and to identify the projects that could help meet those needs,” Gray said. “We’ve got to make sure the public has a chance to participate in all this work that we’ve been doing before it goes out so that it doesn’t appear all of this came from a small group.”[…]

Longtime Roundtable member Geoff Blakeslee said part of the original mission of the statewide roundtables when they were formed in 2005 was to encourage dialogue between the basins but typically, they are protective of the water within their boundaries.

“The Front Range water providers are pushing for dialogue about inter-basin compacts,” Blakeslee said. “Obviously, they are the ones in need. They’ve tapped into West Slope water in the past and they’d like to tap into it some more.”

Gray emphasized that the Yampa-White-Green Round-table is not starting this year’s planning process from scratch. All of the work during the past seven years that has gone into its Basin Implementation Plan will contribute to the draft that is sent to the Colorado Water Conservation Board in December.

“It’s important to understand this plan will be a dynamic plan,” Gray said. “This is not your one last chance to have a say. But it’s important. It’s going to be on the record.”[…]

“Some people don’t relate to the river at all. Some people’s lives depend upon the river, some use it for inspiration,” Blakeslee said. “I think that’s what we need to think about as we go through this planning process. How do we want to leave things for the next generation?”

More Colorado Water Plan coverage here.

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