Colorado cities eyeing Wyoming water

by DP Opinion on August 20, 2009

In your article, Parker water manager Frank Jaeger asserted that “We’re going to have to have more water. It’s going to have to be imported.” Jaeger called the scheme to pipe water 500 miles from Flaming Gorge Reservoir across Wyoming to the Front Range the “least intrusive of anything you could do.”

The truth is, a pipeline of this magnitude would be highly intrusive and damaging to the natural environment, depleting flows in the Green River and destroying habitat for the world-famous trout fishery below the reservoir and for the endangered warm-water fish species farther downstream. Moreover, the monetary and energy costs of building the project and pumping water 500 miles to the Front Range would be staggering.

There are better options. Smart water strategies — like water conservation, reuse, small-scale storage, aquifer recharge and water sharing arrangements — carry a fraction of the cost and environmental impact of transbasin pipelines. Together, these smart strategies would eliminate the need for a Flaming Gorge pipeline or other costly and environmentally damaging transbasin diversion.

Drew Peternell, Boulder

The writer is director of Trout Unlimited’s Colorado Water Project.