Are the dam rights on Maroon and Castle for dams or for storage? Storage is the answer I’ve been given.
If we give up rights to store available water- do we lose the right to water? I’m no lawyer and I’m really not a water lawyer but let’s play the "what if" game….
Imagine a year with no water and a dam- we have a right to so many acre feet and we release it from the damn dam in order to have water which we can legally consume. We are left with a dry riverbed.
Imagine a year with no water and no dam- we have a right to so many acre feet but they don’t exist. We are left with a dry riverbed.
What remains the same in both scenarios? Everything dies. We’re part of an ecosystem which is interdependent no matter what the idiotic egocentric Colorado use it or lose it alternative universe water law decrees. That is what Colorado law says- drain it dry- or somebody else will drain it instead.
The threats of front range diversion are not paper tigers- they are real- read the 2014-2015 Colorado Water Plan. To quote Club 20 "In this February 3 letter to Governor Hickenlooper, seven West Slope Republican legislators wrote, “To protect the West Slope and the State’s economy, it is imperative that each basin exhaust its available water supply before planning diversions from another area of the State.” The letter goes on to say that, “An abundance of additional West Slope water available to the Front Range is an illusion.”’
Please note the word “exhaust” - that means bare bones dry. We should be working together to keep the water in the river and in the soil. Instead we’ve created a world where we urge others to exhaust their water before we exhaust our water. That's mutually assured desertification.
Don’t you dare think that a City Council vote will make one iota of difference in a fight about water. The City Council has told the State they want to keep the water storage right and at the same time said “trust us we won’t build a dam”. Irregardless of the City Council vote this mixed message is a hole wide enough to drill a diversion through. If you think no one will challenge this then I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.
The tough political reality is that the people living in the Colorado River ecosystem have no political power. The Colorado River ecosystem is divided by State borders, Federal lands, Tribal lands and by a border with Mexico. We have no clout. We need clout. The sane solution is to create a coalition of the Colorado River ecosystem entities which transcends State and National borders and recognizes natural water flow. In this fight for water Native Americans, Mexicans,Republicans, Democrats and independents must stay united. Take this as an opportunity to create a coalition of the willing and fight it right up to the hilt against the Front Range and every blue grass water sucking municipality which wants to drain the rivers dry. Take that pledge- make your candidate take that pledge- a pledge to restore our water sheds our riparian zones and fight to keep every drop of Colorado River water in the river.
Start by doing as India and New Zealand have done and declare Castle, Maroon and the Roaring Fork “persons” with all the legal rights a person has. The law needs to change.