U.S. Water News Online
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. -- A new study of the state's eight
major river basins suggests the populous Front Range shouldn't count
on getting more water from either the Colorado or Gunnison basins,
both believed to be possible sources for thirsty cities.
"There are some areas in these basins where you see huge flows. Is
that water available to go to the Front Range? Not necessarily. It's
not that simple," said Rick Brown, project manager for the study for
the Colorado Water Conservation board.
The state has been collecting data in each of the basins for 11
months, examining how much water each has, what demand is likely to
be in the year 2030, as well as how to meet the expected needs.
Final results of the study will be released in November, and
officials are anxious to see it because it is the first such
statewide analysis. The ongoing drought and continued population
growth also are making water officials wary.
Some are skeptical a balanced analysis is possible, particularly
people on the less-populated Western Slope. Ranchers and
environmentalists fear the study will be a prelude to more urban
Bill Ferguson, Ouray County commissioner, said everyone is
concerned about how the data will be used.
On the other side of the Continental Divide, officials worry
Western Slope water needs will be exaggerated to try to block
"Suspicion is endemic to this process. We've had to move forward
as best we can," said Rod Huharic, director of the Colorado Water
David Gann of the Nature Conservancy said there is no doubt an
analysis is needed.
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