Senator Crowder on Downside for Proposed Water Sale

“The agreement with Colorado Springs Utilities will benefit many farmers in the Lower Arkansas River Valley” and “this will be a win-win for those in the San Luis Valley”. Both quotes appeared recently in the papers, one agreement from Denver and one from Colorado Springs. Talk about snake oil salesmen. To attempt to sell this idea as a benefit to the region is absurd.

In the San Luis valley, proponents of exporting water laid out their plan for 22,000 acre feet to be piped out of the north end of the valley headed for Denver. While in the lower Ark, Colorado Springs paid out 8.75 million for 2500 shares, equating to 2,000 acre/feet, to be used 5 out of 10 years of the Lower Arkansas Water Management Association. In the San Luis Valley, Renewable Water Resources proposes $2,000.00 per acre foot for prospective sellers. Both entities approached this as beneficial to their prospective areas. The realities to both projects are a “buy and dry” that would have devastating effects on southern Colorado.

There are willing buyers and sellers. I would be the first to protect personnel property rights. But selling and opening up the floodgates to outside speculators for water and decimating an agriculture area by depleting water resource for farming and ranching is not in the regions best interest. If a person wants to sell or lease their water there are ample buyers and leasers within the farming community. Money is a huge driver in water speculation, but a larger driver should be the sustainability of agriculture.

Is rural Colorado responsible for the sprawl of urbanization and poor planning by powers to be? Not at all due to the fact that rural Colorado has the responsibility to provide a food source which is equally important to human existence.

Both of these projects will be heading to water court and I will oppose both. Our Conservation Districts are charged with, “To acquire, retain, and conserve water resources” and not to allow export out of Southern Colorado.

If in fact water will be in short supply in our urban areas, then a possible solution is desalination. There is an ocean that has not been over appropriated. The short term solution of a San Luis Valley to Denver proposed pipeline is estimated to cost $550-$600 million. The existing SDS pipeline from Pueblo to Colorado Springs is definitely a game changer in agriculture water delivery, at a tremendous cost. A more sustainable solution needs to be considered.

Senator Larry Crowder
Senate District 35

5th generation farmer/rancher originally from Arkansas Valley/currently resides in San Luis Valley. Owner-water both senior and junior surface rights, irrigation wells


Filed Under: Letters to the Editor


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