VJ Valente – West Slope can’t afford to lose more water | SkyHiNews.com

VJ Valente – West Slope can’t afford to lose more water

To the Editor:

As citizens of Grand County we really do appreciate a chance to have our voices heard. We do understand this subject is a tough issue to balance. On one hand, you have a booming metropolis with the need to supply constituents with an adequate and reliable source of clean dependable water. On the other hand, you have the health of a totally different ecosystem.

There is no doubt that 60-plus years of water diversions have irrevocably changed the local climate, including the disappearance of wetlands. Grand County has had its own boom of sorts going on. In 2000, there were approximately 10,000-40,000 people. The Front Range has been expanding in our direction and our finite resources are being sucked away so fast we won’t be able to supply our local population with that adequate and reliable source of dependable water. The lack of stream-flows can greatly reduce our living conditions and hamper our growth.

Hot Sulphur Springs had to recently raise water rates in order to help patch and repair our system, leaving potentially the only resource for the few businesses in town to close their doors. We pay nearly $1,200 yearly for residential water and sewer. We, the residents, see first-hand how poorly planned projects can wreck our water systems. We have had many a boil ordinance for our water, one for nearly four months. This is reality.

To say you are lacking resources is understandable, yet we have been here long before the trans-mountain diversions. Are we going to be one of those towns that will close its doors due to lack of water? We’ve already lost most of our trees; (nearly 1,000,000 acres); are we going to lose our river next?

What sacrifices has the Front Range had to endure? Mandatory watering is a start, but we mountain folk do head to the city occasionally and it’s extremely disheartening to see sprinklers on mid-day and water running down the gutters while we have to so conserve our local resource. This is reality also. It is one that can and should be enforced, otherwise it’s an “I have more money so I can waste it” – and that’s immoral.

Large projects and subdivisions are planned and advertise green building and forethought. Yet the only green is on the golf course and the padded wallets of the developers. We have seen this up-close and personal with the Shore-Fox subdivision which polluted the Colorado River with their poorly planned and monitored “retention ponds.” Their lack of care toward their downstream neighbors is indicative of the things to come.

Last and most disturbing, is the fact that the Moffat Firming Project seemed to have no notion of the Windy-Gap Firming project being proposed in the same drainage by the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District. It would seem that major water diversion entities would be at least a little bit informed of each other’s projects, let alone be at the same table. Our government is starting to scare us when two large water regulators have no communication between them. What are the cumulative impacts of these two projects when so much is at stake?

It’s the people of Colorado’s water, first and foremost. We don’t grow it, it’s given to us by God and we as good people share it. Yet to have it stolen from us is just plain wrong. Again we ask that you look into a more conservative approach to a finite resource that would benefit us all during the present and a long time into the future.

VJ Valente

Hot Sulphur Springs

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