From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
Water that grows food also protects wildlife and provides fun for humans.
So the district formed to protect water in the Arkansas Valley wants to make agriculture more prominent in the state water plan.
The Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District will push for a plank in the Arkansas Basin Roundtable implementation plan to strengthen its commitment to farms.
“It’s been a struggle to increase the awareness of the value of water,” said Beulah rancher Reeves Brown, who sits on both the Lower Ark board and the roundtable. “We’re emphasizing that the values of ag water go beyond just the economic value. It’s also water that you can raft, boat and fish on.”
Brown said the roundtable just last week received the long-term plan from the Pikes Peak Regional Water Authority, which includes finding more water from the Arkansas River over the next 50 years.
“The threat is out there,” Brown said.
“There are benefits of ag water to recreation and the community, not just making food,” said Lynden Gill, chairman of the Lower Ark board.
Jay Winner, general manager of the district, said a proposed statement should be accompanied by a way to measure the benefits of ag water to recreational and environmental uses.
“There are a lot of warm and fuzzy statements (in the water plan),” Winner said. “We’re trying to make a statement that’s precise.”
More Colorado Water Plan coverage here.
Click on a thumbnail graphic for a gallery of snowpack data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.