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PRESS RELEASE: Will Colorado’s Water Plan Destroy Our Rivers?

For Immediate Release
December 9, 2014
Save The Colorado and Save The Poudre
Gary Wockner, Executive Director

Will Colorado’s Water Plan Destroy Our Rivers?
Governor Hickenlooper needs to change course and focus on collaboration

Fort Collins, CO: After nearly two years of deliberations, the Colorado Water Conservation Board and its affiliates are delivering a “draft” of the Colorado Water Plan to Governor Hickenlooper on Wednesday, Dec. 10 at a ceremony at the Colorado State john-hickenlooperCapitol (1:30pm, West Foyer). Although the Draft Plan throws everything and the kitchen sink into the mix of options to address Colorado’s future water challenges, the Draft Plan unfortunately lays the groundwork for more river destruction across the state. Severe problems with the Draft Plan include:

 

  1. The Draft Plan failed to include and accept input from grassroots advocacy organizations. A long-standing river protection group, Save The Poudre, was not allowed to sit on the South Platte Roundtable, and the input from 18 conservation organizations was almost completely ignored. 
  2. The Draft Plan discusses and supports the idea of a lot more river destruction schemes such as dams, reservoirs, diversions, and pipelines. The Draft Plan also points to the South Platte Basin Implementation Plan which specifically endorses every proposed river destruction scheme on the table including the extremely controversial Northern Integrated Supply Project, Windy Gap Firming Project, and Moffat Project, and a “conceptual review” for another major trans-mountain diversion from the Colorado River system such as the Flaming Gorge Pipeline. 
  3. The Draft Plan proposes to enact sweeping new power and authority for the State of Colorado (through the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Interbasin Compact Committee, and Legislature) to “streamline” and potentially gut regulations, and to lobby for and fund new dam and river destruction projects. 
  4. The Draft Plan gives lip service to “healthy rivers” for wildlife and recreation, but fails to lay out goals or specific strategies to achieve it.

“We have serious concerns about the process and product of this Draft Colorado Water Plan,” said Gary Wockner, director of the river protection groups Save The Poudre and Save The Colorado. “Colorado’s rivers are already severely depleted and oversubscribed, and this Draft Plan would make them all worse. Governor Hickenlooper needs to change course and focus on collaborative solutions that do not pit stakeholders against each other and would not launch multi-decade court battles and water wars over dam and river destruction projects.”

Those collaborative solutions include significantly larger investments in water conservation and efficiency, water reuse and recycling, better growth management, and water-sharing agreements with farmers.

Gary Wockner will attend the press conference representing Save The Poudre and Save The Colorado.

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