U.S. Water News Online
GOLDEN, Colo. -- The city of Golden will replace some of
the Clear Creek water it lost in court recently by buying water from
Coors Brewing Co., one of the parties that sued the city for taking
more than its share.
The water the brewer will sell from Golden originally belonged to
the town of Thornton, which also helped take Golden to court.
The city of Westminster led the court fight against Golden and
criticizes the foothills city for going its own way on Clear Creek
water issues. But officials there say they are willing to let Golden
keep diverting water from Clear Creek if it admits it does not have
rights to it.
``If we can work out something mutually beneficial to both
parties, we're perfectly willing,'' said Kelly DiNatale,
Westminster's water director. ``We're not out to make anybody
Earlier, a Water Court ruled that nearly half the water Golden was
diverting from the creek belongs to Coors and cities downstream.
``What the public saw was the operation of the Colorado water
system,'' said Arvada public works director Bill Ray, who joined
Westminster, Thornton, Coors and farmers in the legal action. ``This
is what ditch riders, water masters and water courts do every day.
It's nothing personal.''
Coors had an interest in the ruling because it needs the disputed
water for cooling its brewery and other machinery. Water for the beer
itself comes from proprietary springs and other water rights locked
up by the brewer.
However, Coors came into the dispute late, letting Westminster and
others research the obscure legal agreements.
``The No. 1 commitment we have to the community is to stay in
business, since we have 3,500 people who live in this community,''
said Coors spokeswoman Aimee Valdez. ``We've been trying to do our
part to conserve water, too.''
DiNatale said Coors did not drive the complaint against Golden.
``They've been a good neighbor on Clear Creek. We call them and
say we got cheated out of a little water, and they always make it
up,'' she said. ``That working relationship does not exist with
Golden could keep some of the water it just lost by applying for a
temporary use permit.
If its Clear Creek neighbors agree, Golden could use the disputed
water now, since Westminster doesn't need it at the moment, and
replace it at Westminster's Standley Lake storage in the winter.
``Nobody is going to pick up and move away. We'll always be
Golden's neighbor, and they'll always be ours,'' Ray said. ``But as
with neighbors, there are fences that divide what's mine and what's
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