Colorado’s Cache la Poudre River tumbles 80 miles from its high-alpine headwaters in Rocky Mountain National Park down to the South Platte River on the plains below. The upper Poudre is the only designated wild and scenic river in the state – but after it exits Poudre Canyon, 90 percent of its flow is siphoned off for farmers and homeowners around Fort Collins. Now, a local water district wants to tap the remaining 10 percent to fill two new reservoirs.
Municipal planners in northern Colorado say the prospect of drought combined with a booming population (predicted to increase three-fold by 2050), leaves only one solution: more water storage, in the form of the Northern Integrated Supply Project. “This is not a case of ‘if you don’t build it, they won’t come,’ ” says Carl Brouwer, project manager. “Bottom line: More people equals the need for more water.”
I would be asking the following questions:
- What will you do when the last 10% has been drained from the river?
- If you would do it then, why are you NOT doing it now.?
We should be asking the same questions about water in California. The stakes are high. It is not a good time to be a farmer in the Delta, as the most recent proposal from our good governor would take away riparian water rights to service those who would pay more. I am told that there was much unhappiness in the recent State Senate hearings when Restore the Delta made this a point of discussion. Last minute language inserted into a bond measure authorization that was clearly intended to be hidden.