Flaming Gorge water

Pueblo Chieftain

Re: “Flaming Gorge water plan inches along,” March 31 Chieftain: Let me explain why Colorado should “stick a fork” in the proposed Flaming Gorge pipeline. Colorado’s Front Range communities can meet their future water needs with innovative strategies that are faster and cheaper to develop and less controversial and environmentally damaging than the proposal to pump water 500 miles from Flaming Gorge Reservoir to the Front Range.  The pipeline proponents claim that Colorado must develop its remaining Colorado River Compact water or risk losing it to downstream states. Recent state studies show, however, that Colorado may not have any water left to develop under the compact, especially if water availability in the Colorado River basin declines as a result of climate change, as many scientists predict.

Even if there is Colorado River water left under the compact, developing it through the Flaming Gorge pipeline would reduce opportunities in other parts of the state, including the Western Slope.

There are better alternatives. As recently outlined in the “Filling the Gap” report, Front Range communities from Denver to Greeley can more than meet their water needs in 2050 through a pragmatic mix of voluntary and temporary ag/urban sharing arrangements, conservation, reuse, and environmentally responsible water projects.

Simply put, there’s no compelling need for a Flaming Gorge pipeline. For more information, see http://www.tu.org/sites/www.tu.org/files/documents/FillingTheGap.pdf

Drew Peternell

Colorado Water Project
Trout Unlimited