Our view: Hey Front Rangers: Stop killing the place you love
July 1, 2011
To paraphrase Ghandi: You need to become the change you want to see in the incomparable Colorado high country.
Unless, of course, you’re not interested helping to preserve a modicum of the natural splendor and health of Grand County, a place that presumably has gripped your imagination sufficiently to compel a visit or to seek second-home ownership here.
First, the next time you’re at home – your first one, that is, the one on the other side of the Continental Divide – you need to listen to that sonorous voice-over booming from the sky commanding you to: “Step away from the garden hose, before you kill again.”
You then need to consider the almost surreal fact that the water pouring out of the hose and flowing incontinently down the gutter is the same water that should be, but is no longer, flowing in the river in the valley where you are reading this.
It’s the same water that is clouding your favorite, formerly gin-clear lake, promoting algae blooms on its way to slake the insatiable thirst of metropolitan growth.
It’s the water that would cool a delicate alpine stream during late summer where hundreds of fish are instead going to suffocate because the tepid trickle cannot hold enough life-sustaining oxygen.
It’s the water that would have allowed the fish you won’t catch this weekend, because it no longer exists, to thrive and grow into the trophy of a lifetime.
It’s the water that allows Grand County businesses and residents to make a decent living.
You need to consider that because it is you – and, ultimately, you alone – who have the power to lend some sanity to the transmountain diversion madness that has gripped Colorado since engineers contrived to bore more than 40 tunnels under the Continental Divide.
You need to decide what is of greater value to you, to your second home, to your state and to your planet: that weekend-sapping, embarrassingly green Kentucky bluegrass growing in what under the natural order would be a semi-arid plains ecosystem, or the very life essence of the headwaters of one of the West’s greatest rivers.
You need to decide whether it would be worth $1 per year to mitigate some of the environmental havoc that wasteful Front Range landscaping practices are wreaking on the once mighty Colorado River. (Read the column on the facing page for details.)
That’s right, a measly buck a year would buy Denver Water customers the peace of mind that would come with the knowledge they helped fund critical habitat improvements in the Upper Colorado River Basin, improvements necessitated by the diversion of some 60 percent of the river’s natural flows to the Front Range. (Make that 60 percent and counting.)
A $1 rate increase for customers of Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District no doubt would have similarly beneficial effects.
Then imagine what $1 per month could accomplish, particularly if you were to practice safe landscaping. So put a condom on that garden hose and get ye to a xeriscaper, before you kill again.
And, just as importantly, make a point of letting the utility that provides your water know you are willing to pay a little more to obtain domestic water in a sustainable and environmentally sane manner. In fact, insist on it.
In the meantime, enjoy your holiday weekend visit … while you still can.