Letter: County’s drought plan is solid; stop floating impossible ideas | SkyHiNews.com

Letter: County’s drought plan is solid; stop floating impossible ideas

After reading Mr. Troutman’s guest column in the Sept. 3 Sky-Hi News, I am compelled to write a response. The column takes what I consider to be an unfair swipe at the newly and nearly completed Grand County Drought Preparedness Plan.

I have lived in Grand County since 1976. I serve on the board of directors of the Colorado River Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited located here. I also serve on the Citizens Advisory Committee to Denver Water.

For the last year and a half approximately, the county, water and sanitation districts, the towns of Granby, Fraser and Winter Park, along with representatives of the state, environmental groups, and the ranching community have been working on the Drought Plan. The result is a well thought out, legal and acceptable plan.

The Upper Colorado River Watershed Management Group (UCRWMG) also participated. A drafting committee was formed.  No representative of UCRWMG chose to participate in the drafting committee. As a TU member, I worked on the draft plan.  For a representative of UCRWMG to publicly now attack the plan is highly inappropriate.

Mr. Troutman also continues to make improper and likely illegal suggestions concerning actions which he thinks Grand County should be taking to ensure the health of our streams. He suggests a drought plan, which contains a provision that “limit(s) how much of our water goes to the Front Range in times like these,” but he does not suggest just how such a provision in a drought plan could be enforceable much less enacted. He then reiterates the suggestion for the imposition of an Environmental Impact Fee on water diverted by Denver pursuant to its decreed water right.

According to Colorado constitutional, statutory, and case law, a water right is a property right that cannot be taken without compensation. Limiting the exercise of a water right as suggested would constitute such a taking. As Kirk Klancke, in his response to another of Mr. Troutman’s columns stated, Grand County has previously retained counsel to examine the possibility of such a fee and determined it was not a feasible approach, legally or practically.

It is unfortunate that suggestions which are practically unattainable are repeatedly made in the press by a group which purports to have the public good in mind. Such suggestions only create dissatisfaction and confusion on the part of the public.

— Richard Newton, board member Colorado River Headwaters Chapter Trout Unlimited

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