Monday, August 7, 2006

August 7, 2006 All This Rain Does Not Help

Consider This for August 7, 2006—All This Rain Doesn’t Help.

I just got off the phone with a highly placed and respected water person in Colorado and we talked about the fact that it had rained every day for the past few weeks. We commented that the grass was green and that the forests were wet.

I hung up the phone and turned around and saw the following on my computer screen with credit and thanks to Steve Glazer from the Sierra Club who puts these together.

RAINFALL DOESN'T DO MUCH TO END COLORADO DROUGHT - State weather officials said the wet weekend in Colorado, where some areas received up to eight inches of rainfall, won't do much to clear the long-term drought, and said the effects of the stormy weekend will be forgotten within days. Denver Rocky Mountain News; July 10

After I read that one there was more.

BOULDER ASKS FOR VOLUNTARY WATER RESTRICTIONS - Citing the extreme heat and a continued drought, Boulder, Colo., officials said that water consumption has been highest since 2000, and county officials are asking residents to help with strict, but still voluntary, conservation practices. Boulder Daily Camera; July 14

But hey, that is Boulder, what about the rest of Colorado?

DISASTER DECLARED IN MOST OF COLORADO MEANS HELP FOR FARMERS - Colorado Gov. Bill Owens announced yesterday that farmers in 59 of the state's 64 counties qualify for federal disaster relief for losses due to the drought. Denver Post; July 18

And for those of you who have been asleep most of the summer that included Summit County. Yes, Summit County. I have lived in Colorado for 36 years and that has never happened before.

Of course we could sue for the right to claim the water that is evaporating off of the Dillon Reservoir. How innovative is this? How silly is this?

BROKER SUES FOR RIGHT TO WATER EVAPORATING OFF N.M. RESERVOIRS - Albuquerque hydrologist William Turner has appealed the New Mexico State Engineer's denial of his request that he be allowed to divert the 372,982 acre-feet of water from the Rio Grande that normally evaporates off the Elephant Butte, Cochiti and Caballo reservoirs each year, pipe it into arroyos or well fields, and then sell the water. Santa Fe New Mexican; July 30

My sister Janet and I owned a farm in Iowa until a few years ago. One of our assessments was to pay a ditch company to allow the tile on our land to dump excess water into their ditch that subsequently took the water to the creek (or crick to those who really understand) and then to the river. Yes, we paid to get the water off of our land every year.

I had a meeting recently with some county commissioners west of here and they asked what I felt was the most important thing they could do about water. I told them that they needed to do everything possible to keep their water in their county for as long as they could. That meant to conserve water for habitat, domestic, agricultural use and for recreation. Not to let one drop move downstream unless they were under some court order or other decree to do so.

I would give the same advice to any county. Water is a finite resource. There is only so much available and even when it seems like it is dropping out of the sky every five minutes or so there is still not enough.

The elected officials in each county should look at their water as a valuable resource that needs to be protected. The best way to protect it is to stay united and not to fight between jurisdictions. What is good for the Upper Blue near Breckenridge is good for the Lower Blue near Silverthorne.

We are all in the same community, the same county and have the same interests in the long term. By infighting and disagreeing the only people who will benefit will be the water attorneys. And guess who pays for the water attorneys? You and I do of course. We get to pay for the bravado and ego of some elected official who is not willing to sit down at the table and talk. That is crazy. That is not good government.

We need to look at this from a very reasonable people oriented approach. Drive by the stream or the reservoir or lake. If there is water in it that is a good thing. No water means it is a bad thing. We need to have more of a good thing and less of a bad thing. If we all work together we can have that.

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