From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
Each month, a roomful of water wonks has convened monthly to iron out the Arkansas Valley’s water issues for the past decade.
Soon, if a state grant is approved, more people may be able to join in the fun.
The Arkansas River Basin Water Forum and the Arkansas Basin Roundtable want to spend $50,000 annually for a three-year program to increase public awareness.
Specifically, the grant would fund a water video specific to the Arkansas Valley, increase the number of water festivals, public library activities and host community meetings to explain water policies. In addition, it would be used to hire a part-time coordinator for the events.
“You can hit a broader audience than any one organization can do,” said Julia Gallucci, water educator for Colorado Springs Utilities. She spoke at Wednesday’s roundtable meeting.
The roundtable moved the grant request to the Colorado Water Conservation Board, which will consider funding it. The program would require about $72,000 in matching funds and $24,000 in in-kind services from area water groups as well.
It builds on existing activities. The water forum has been held each year for more than 20 years. The Pueblo Children’s Water Festival at Colorado State University-Pueblo in May began as a water education tool for fourth-graders 18 years ago. Ironically, rain canceled the event this year. Several valley water groups have had other water education efforts over the years.
The idea is to create toolkits for minifestivals and add large water festivals in Salida and Colorado Springs
Now, with the state water plan and the accompanying basin implementation plan nearing completion, the roundtable wants more chances for water education.
Don’t worry. It’ll be fun.
The Arkansas Basin Roundtable Wednesday elected officers for the coming year.
Sandy White, a water attorney now with the Huerfano Conservancy District, will be the chairman.
Terry Book, executive director of Pueblo Water, and SeEtta Moss, of the Arkansas Valley Audubon Society, are vice chairs. Jay Winner, of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District, and Jeris Danielson, of the Purgatory Water Conservancy District, are representatives to the Interbasin Compact Committee.
Terry Scanga, of the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District, is secretary-recorder.
Alan Hamel is a member of the Colorado Water Conservation Board.
Jim Broderick, executive director of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, is past-president and IBCC alternate.