From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
A state lawmaker who voiced support for a dam on Fountain Creek after this spring’s flooding says downstream opposition has changed his course.
“A dam on Fountain Creek was, still is, a good idea. But when I went down there to talk to people about it, there was opposition from three counties and several groups of farmers,” state Sen. Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa, said. “There’s a heavy mistrust of government.”
Crowder made waves in July when he voiced support for a flood-control dam on Fountain Creek in light of the constant erosion caused by heavy flooding in May and June.
On paper, having three dams in the Lower Arkansas Valley — Pueblo, John Martin and Fountain Creek — could allow for better water management to supply water to farmers, Crowder said Tuesday.
“I still believe having three dams would have extended water rights,” he said.
But commissioners in Otero, Prowers and Kiowa counties have voiced opposition, saying a dam on Fountain Creek would harm junior water rights.
Preliminary results from a study by the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District earlier this year show that damage would be relatively small and that slowing down water could actually prolong the time some junior rights are in priority.
“The way I see it, we are always playing defense,” Crowder said. “I thought a dam would be a good way to play But after several meetings and letters of opposition to a dam, Crowder said he is no longer interested in pushing for state support of a Fountain Creek dam. He was also dissuaded from supporting it by comments last week that made at a joint meeting of Pueblo and Colorado Springs city councils.
“It’s a quandary for me, but I have to go with what people in my district want,” Crowder said. “I can’t fight everybody.”