From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Josie Sexton):
“The story around water is often one of conflict,” The Nature Conservancy’s Colorado Water Projects director Doug Robotham said as the event got underway. “Frankly, I think the more compelling story is the history of collaboration.”
The forum was facilitated by CSU’s Colorado Water Institute and sponsored by The Poudre Runs Through It Study/Action Work Group, a team composed of 30 community water stakeholders with backgrounds in fields ranging from ecology and irrigation to brewing and law.
Since 2012, the group has convened to discuss differing views on the Poudre and to finally put forward a trio of initiatives, which the group presented at Saturday’s forum.
Its suggestions, or the “three F’s,” as Colorado Water Institute’s MaryLou Smith explained, are “flow, funding and forum,” the last of which the team began with Saturday’s event and now hopes to hold annually.
For the first initiative, a five-person steering committee explained a vision of improved water flow along the Poudre, utilizing methods such as a “designated instream flow reach” to essentially lease leftover water upstream and send it downriver, meeting a specified minimimum flow requirement along a certain length of the Poudre, such as the stretch running right through Fort Collins.
The cost for such a project is where the group’s funding initiative comes in.
“All of that would take big money,” Smith said, adding it would need to be public money and not just “philanthropic seed dollars.”
According to John Stokes, director of the city of Fort Collins’ Natural Areas Department, the city did test such a water leasing project early last September.
“We tried to rent water, but our little 10 (cubic feet per second) got buried in 10,000 (cubic feet per second),” Stokes said, refering to Sepember’s flooding.