San Luis Valley-to-Douglas County #water pipeline proposed. Critics call it a “buy and dry” scheme. The company, Renewable Water Resources, isn’t the first or even the second or third to eye the valley’s water — The #Denver Post #RioGrande

Third hay cutting 2021 in Subdistrict 1 area of San Luis Valley. Photo credit: Chris Lopez

Click the link to read the article on The Denver Post website (Conrad Swanson). Here’s an excerpt:

Trouble swirls above the aquifers of Colorado’s San Luis Valley, where farmers and ranchers raise and grow much of the region’s cattle, potatoes, alfalfa and barley. Those aquifers are losing water as the American West dries out and whatever remains is spoken for. Farmers and ranchers have labored for decades to use less of the valley’s most precious resource. Today, the farmers say, a new but familiar threat approaches.

Denver Basin Aquifer System graphic credit USGS.

A Front Range company called Renewable Water Resources, backed by a cadre of builders, developers and former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, wants to drill into the aquifers storing the valley’s declining water supply and pipe it to the ever-growing Douglas County.

The Front Range has money, Renewable Water Resources’ Managing Partner Sean Tonner often says. And the San Luis Valley has water. Tonner is quick to cite poverty statistics for valley residents and says his company can pay those willing to sell their water rights and bring millions more to stimulate the local economy. It’s a win-win deal, he said.

Opposition is widespread among the valley’s farmers, ranchers, water managers, environmentalists, bankers and politicians. Alamosa, Rio Grande and Mineral counties, alongside the cities of Alamosa, Monte Vista, La Jara, Manassa and Crestone passed resolutions opposing the project. So have Conejos Clean Water, the Rio Grande Water Conservation District and the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council. People in the valley describe the plan as an old-fashioned “buy and dry” scheme…

Not only would Tonner’s plan further dry life in the mountain valley but, residents warn, it would also set a dangerous precedent that other fast-growing Front Range communities could quench their thirst by taking the one thing the San Luis Valley needs most. Money the project would bring into the valley – including a $50 million community fund – isn’t the “magic bullet” for the area’s economic woes, but Tonner argues it’s the best plan proposed yet. And in return, if Douglas County moves now, he said its commissioners can lock-in a renewable source of high-quality water at rates far below market prices.

The deal hinges on Douglas County’s split, three-person Board of County Commissioners.

Potential Water Delivery Routes. Since this water will be exported from the San Luis Valley, the water will be fully reusable. In addition to being a renewable water supply, this is an important component of the RWR water supply and delivery plan. Reuse allows first-use water to be used to extinction, which means that this water, after first use, can be reused multiple times. Graphic credit: Renewable Water Resources

2 thoughts on “San Luis Valley-to-Douglas County #water pipeline proposed. Critics call it a “buy and dry” scheme. The company, Renewable Water Resources, isn’t the first or even the second or third to eye the valley’s water — The #Denver Post #RioGrande

  1. RWR top dog Owens is Board Chair for Credit Bank of Moscow- sanctioned and restricted for its ties to putin and oligarchs… why is an ex-governor of Colorado carrying water for Russia?

    Owens says its owned by ‘investors’- but we all know what that means. Nothing gets investments without Putins blessings and skim.

    Who is really funding RWR? Is someone kompromat?? Will that pipeline carry Russian vodka?

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