Letter: Hope for Colorado’s water future | SkyHiNews.com

Letter: Hope for Colorado’s water future

To the Editor:

Trout Unlimited recently praised the draft state water plan delivered by the Colorado Water Conservation Board to Gov. Hickenlooper as “a good first step” in the collaborative process of creating a road map for sustainable water use. However, TU recognizes there is still much more to be done.

Grand County — “ground zero” for past and current problems and challenges created by both current water diversion and future demand — is the “poster child” and no doubt provided much of the impetus for the governor to pursue the current statewide action plan. Successes in Grand County will show and lead the rest of Colorado in this incredibly important effort.

Grand County has a long and storied history of water diversion. Efforts over especially the last eight years have led this most recent effort and provide the pathway for a sustainable future. Grand County’s willingly involved and invested landowners and property managers, to resource professionals at the county, state, federal, local, and private levels, coupled with tremendous efforts from our county commissioners, county manager, the outcry and input from many informed, concerned and motivated citizens, steady and passionate involvement from our Headwater’s Chapter of Trout Unlimited and lastly, solid commitments from the water diverters themselves, offer the promise going forward and reversing previous detrimental and damaging effects of water diversion practices — replacing it with a future allowing productive agriculture, thriving wildlife habitat and the healthy rivers and viable, sustainable (and still world class) trout fisheries. It’s what living in Grand County means to us.

Can we get there? To do so will take still more conservation measures from the water users, especially in Colorado’s growing cities. We must undertake projects that protect and restore streamflows and provide the necessary water for agriculture while modernizing irrigation infrastructure to improve overall efficiency and benefit the working ranches within our county. Fortunately, such efforts are currently under way within our county – with more in the works.

Lastly, it will take the collaborative efforts of all involved to remain committed and engaged as part of the long-term solution going forward. That too is under way in Grand County with the creation of a Learning By Doing working group focused and funded with an eye toward healthy river systems that are compatible with the ever-growing needs for water by all Coloradans. With continued vigilance and accountability we will get it done!

Rob Firth

Trout Unlimited

Hot Sulphur Springs

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