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Pumping More from the Upper Colorado River: An Idea That Sucks

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February 23, 2012

Pumping More from the Upper Colorado River: An Idea That Sucks

By Kirk Deeter

Yesterday, I spoke at a rally at the Colorado State Capitol. I was there with Trout Unlimited to make a public case to Governor John Hickenlooper that he pay attention to the Environmental Protection Agency, and not rubber stamp a plan to suck even more water out of the upper stretches of the Colorado River watershed. As it stands now, nearly two thirds of the historic flows from the Upper Colorado are already siphoned away. It's silty. It's weedy. There are fewer bugs and fewer fish. And still, they want more.

My analogy is this: Imagine we woke up tomorrow and learned that Pike's Peak were 90% comprised of high grade coal. We could build a power plant, and burn that coal, providing free power to the cities of Denver and Colorado Springs for 20 years. All we'd have to do is shave off two-thirds of Pike's Peak. Who's going to step up and say, "Let's start with a little bit off the top!"? Nobody. At least nobody with a brain, and/or the slightest bit of respect for natural history and the environment.

So why is it cool to draw off two thirds or more of the Colorado River? It's not. I'll submit to you that the Colorado River is every bit as much the iconic natural landmark that Pike's Peak is. I'd also submit that the long term value of the Colorado River--the one that future generations will appreciate--has much more to do with protecting the resource for recreation and tourism (the state's number two industry), than it does about how much we can suck out of the river today.

It's time for more anglers in this state--and nationwide--to step up to the megaphone and voice their concerns. This isn't a left-right, Republican or Democrat issue. It's about rivers and fishing. And if you care about those things, you'll tune in and speak up.

You can get more context from the Denver Post by clicking here, and here.

Comments (22)

Top Rated
All Comments
from Dcast wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Kirk, sorry I do not know the background of the story I'm in Ohio and haven't heard or read anything about this. Could you shed some light on it for those who do not know the background of your post? Thanks

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dcast wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

OK, nevermind I found some information about it now. This sounds ridiculous. Why would you pump water to a semi arid area for housing and agriculture, it is semi-arid for a reason. I'm going to read up more about this.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kirkdeeter wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Thanks Dcast... I added a couple links at the end of the post above.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from casestevenson wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

dang it! we just stopped them from damming the poudre and now they are after the colorado! this sucks!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from upacreek333 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

The Pike's Peak anaology is perfect ... In fact, the energy analogy is becoming more and more germaine, as well. I was just listening to some political news/talk station on satellite radio, and heard Newt Gingrich talking about the need to offset the federal deficit by opening up all federal lands to drilling. If you're an angler, a hunter or anyone who uses public lands, this ought to tell you what Newt's all about. And, sadly, the Colorado water issue ought to tell you what Hickenlooper's all about these days, too.

My dream... when my kids are my age (mid-40s), the Colorado River will once again meet the Sea of Cortez ... Silly? No. Not if we're smart and calculating, not stupid and impatient (see Las Vegas).

Our natural resources aren't finite and most aren't replenishable. The sooner the politicians figure that out, the safer our fishing and hunting will be ... now and for the next generations.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from upacreek333 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Oh, and one more thing. The water we're talking about largely goes to sprinkle on water-lovin' Kentucky bluegrass. In the high desert. There's step one to the eventual solution--stop planing lawns in Denver, Colorado.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from badsmerf wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I hate this. I'm completely against almost everything hydro-electric. Want a better solution? Build more wind farms (and keep me employed lol)! Some people can't see through dollar signs.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Seriously; Are you kidding me? If there was coal under Mount Rushmore the weasels who run the energy companies and their congressional pets in Washington would be after it and they would want it for free and get a tax deduction for having to drill a hole in Teddy's head. The campaign to pervert the public would start slow, and build until NATIONAL SECURITY DEPENDS ON EXTRACTING ALL THE COAL. The Alaska oil pipeline was to be used entirely in the US, Thats how the sold it. Was to bring energy independence, right. WRONG. Clinton changed that with a stroke of a pen. Why is the Keystone pipeline necessary to go all the way to the refineries on the gulf of Mexico If the primary customer was the US market. You would think the refineries in Colorado would be a tad cheaper right? Not so much pipeline to lay right? Because the market is not the US, they want to ship oil from the gulf overseas. China will sell it back to us as plastics in all the crap we buy. 1 more point and I am done: The magic tool of Energy independence called Fracking. Where do you think all that water comes from that goes down that well? Ya think its all being trucked in? You think thats cost effective? I may not trust my Government much, but I trust big business a whole lot less.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Apologies, went off on another of my rants again. Its simple, no water no hosing developments. Move somewhere else.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from babsfish4life wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

From what I understood this is not a hydroelectric project like mentioned above, but a water diversion issue. In my neck of the woods hydroelectric dams make it possible for us to fish on the Snake River, water diversion is what kills fishing. The dams store water so there is water for the fish after all the water diversions takes their share. No hydroelectric dams for me would mean the Snake River would be dry. (We have wind farms and they are hideous invade deer and elk wintering grounds and don't create near the power as the Palisades Dam) I am under the impression that if an area can support water for 500000 people than the 500001 person will go thirsty. Don't steal the water from other parts of the area.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bob Streb wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Thanks for coming out the other day Kirk,and more importantly thanks for using this to make people aware. You have a big audience here and each and everyone of them need to tell 10 friends. Understanding exactly whats going on is something Colorado needed years ago. Heres hoping Governor Hick is a man, steps up and says not on his watch.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

and this is what politicians call progress! sad!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

After reading the attached links, I now have more questions than before. I know water is like gold out West. Probably the number one factor in determining the value of land.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fliphuntr14 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

were can I score one of those shirts!? im in wisconsin but I recently had an environmental science class where the water in the west fight was discussed and it is now on front stage again. This is a case where fish should not be an externality and a holistic environmental approach needs to be taken.Business needs to rethink there practice in my opinion. good luck in your protests I for one hope to someday make the trip there.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Rhythm Rider wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I was there Wed, and am very discouraged. Gov Hickenlooper is a proponent of the Christo Rags Over the Ark project, citing the economic benefit (just yesterday at Colorado Press Association event he championed it as the right thing to do). If he's unable to acknowledge the harm of a project like Christo's, he'll never see the light with communities asserting their "water RIGHTS" (IMO - it's not a right).

Sorry, just very discouraged.

Another way to look at this issue is how it's justified with an EIS approved by a spineless EPA, and other tools that justify poor decisions. Ask yourself this......are war atrocities justified if you have a good action plan approved by a gov't agency? The impact on the stream is no less an atrocity on the stream than genocidal acts of war carried out on people. The WGFP simply justified with an EIS and sold as stability to growing communities which will benefit economically. It all stinks.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kirkdeeter wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Can somebody get fliphuntr14 a shirt? (I'm sure there's a way that can happen).

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from spuddog wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I've lived my most of my life in AZ and CO and know the importance of the Colorado River. I live in one of the water sucking denver suburbs and my income is based on the contruction industry. I'd find a new job and redo my yard to keep the Colorado intact. It's suffered enough. At this point I don't think there is any way to make it whole again, but that doesn't mean that we should take it down to a trickle and totally destroy the habitat it sustains.

Thanks Kirk.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Larry Cowden wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

The governor obviously believes the river is his to do with as he pleases. Arrogance and ignorance all rolled up into one package. No thought for all those downstream and the damage his plan will cause. Guess he forgot the Grand Canyon needs the Colorado River also to survive. Loss of adequate flow will destroy this national park and wonder. But then again, he was probably paid so much under the table he just doesn't give a dam! Time for recall of that SOB!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from casestevenson wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I'm on the prowl for one of those shirts myself. I'm a musician in the front range area, I figure i can wear it at some shows and open mics, try to get the word out around here!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from blue ridge wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Did you know that there is a proposal to pump water out of the Great Lakes to turn the southwest green. The 10 states governing council that controls the water has stopped this plan.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nyflyangler wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

RockySquirrel, no need to apologize. It was a damned good rant. The problem in this country is we have the Corporate lackey Party, the Democrats who occasionally look after actual biological people's interests and the Bigger Corporate Lackey Party, the Republicans, who NEVER look after actual biological people's interests ever.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from fliphuntr14 wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

thanks kirk my email is flip14flop@hotmail.com check it almost daily, would dawn the shirt with pride and spread the word.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from upacreek333 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Oh, and one more thing. The water we're talking about largely goes to sprinkle on water-lovin' Kentucky bluegrass. In the high desert. There's step one to the eventual solution--stop planing lawns in Denver, Colorado.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from upacreek333 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

The Pike's Peak anaology is perfect ... In fact, the energy analogy is becoming more and more germaine, as well. I was just listening to some political news/talk station on satellite radio, and heard Newt Gingrich talking about the need to offset the federal deficit by opening up all federal lands to drilling. If you're an angler, a hunter or anyone who uses public lands, this ought to tell you what Newt's all about. And, sadly, the Colorado water issue ought to tell you what Hickenlooper's all about these days, too.

My dream... when my kids are my age (mid-40s), the Colorado River will once again meet the Sea of Cortez ... Silly? No. Not if we're smart and calculating, not stupid and impatient (see Las Vegas).

Our natural resources aren't finite and most aren't replenishable. The sooner the politicians figure that out, the safer our fishing and hunting will be ... now and for the next generations.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Seriously; Are you kidding me? If there was coal under Mount Rushmore the weasels who run the energy companies and their congressional pets in Washington would be after it and they would want it for free and get a tax deduction for having to drill a hole in Teddy's head. The campaign to pervert the public would start slow, and build until NATIONAL SECURITY DEPENDS ON EXTRACTING ALL THE COAL. The Alaska oil pipeline was to be used entirely in the US, Thats how the sold it. Was to bring energy independence, right. WRONG. Clinton changed that with a stroke of a pen. Why is the Keystone pipeline necessary to go all the way to the refineries on the gulf of Mexico If the primary customer was the US market. You would think the refineries in Colorado would be a tad cheaper right? Not so much pipeline to lay right? Because the market is not the US, they want to ship oil from the gulf overseas. China will sell it back to us as plastics in all the crap we buy. 1 more point and I am done: The magic tool of Energy independence called Fracking. Where do you think all that water comes from that goes down that well? Ya think its all being trucked in? You think thats cost effective? I may not trust my Government much, but I trust big business a whole lot less.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kirkdeeter wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Can somebody get fliphuntr14 a shirt? (I'm sure there's a way that can happen).

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from blue ridge wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Did you know that there is a proposal to pump water out of the Great Lakes to turn the southwest green. The 10 states governing council that controls the water has stopped this plan.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Nyflyangler wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

RockySquirrel, no need to apologize. It was a damned good rant. The problem in this country is we have the Corporate lackey Party, the Democrats who occasionally look after actual biological people's interests and the Bigger Corporate Lackey Party, the Republicans, who NEVER look after actual biological people's interests ever.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dcast wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Kirk, sorry I do not know the background of the story I'm in Ohio and haven't heard or read anything about this. Could you shed some light on it for those who do not know the background of your post? Thanks

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dcast wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

OK, nevermind I found some information about it now. This sounds ridiculous. Why would you pump water to a semi arid area for housing and agriculture, it is semi-arid for a reason. I'm going to read up more about this.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kirkdeeter wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Thanks Dcast... I added a couple links at the end of the post above.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from casestevenson wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

dang it! we just stopped them from damming the poudre and now they are after the colorado! this sucks!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from badsmerf wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I hate this. I'm completely against almost everything hydro-electric. Want a better solution? Build more wind farms (and keep me employed lol)! Some people can't see through dollar signs.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RockySquirrel wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Apologies, went off on another of my rants again. Its simple, no water no hosing developments. Move somewhere else.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from babsfish4life wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

From what I understood this is not a hydroelectric project like mentioned above, but a water diversion issue. In my neck of the woods hydroelectric dams make it possible for us to fish on the Snake River, water diversion is what kills fishing. The dams store water so there is water for the fish after all the water diversions takes their share. No hydroelectric dams for me would mean the Snake River would be dry. (We have wind farms and they are hideous invade deer and elk wintering grounds and don't create near the power as the Palisades Dam) I am under the impression that if an area can support water for 500000 people than the 500001 person will go thirsty. Don't steal the water from other parts of the area.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bob Streb wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

Thanks for coming out the other day Kirk,and more importantly thanks for using this to make people aware. You have a big audience here and each and everyone of them need to tell 10 friends. Understanding exactly whats going on is something Colorado needed years ago. Heres hoping Governor Hick is a man, steps up and says not on his watch.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

and this is what politicians call progress! sad!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

After reading the attached links, I now have more questions than before. I know water is like gold out West. Probably the number one factor in determining the value of land.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fliphuntr14 wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

were can I score one of those shirts!? im in wisconsin but I recently had an environmental science class where the water in the west fight was discussed and it is now on front stage again. This is a case where fish should not be an externality and a holistic environmental approach needs to be taken.Business needs to rethink there practice in my opinion. good luck in your protests I for one hope to someday make the trip there.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Rhythm Rider wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I was there Wed, and am very discouraged. Gov Hickenlooper is a proponent of the Christo Rags Over the Ark project, citing the economic benefit (just yesterday at Colorado Press Association event he championed it as the right thing to do). If he's unable to acknowledge the harm of a project like Christo's, he'll never see the light with communities asserting their "water RIGHTS" (IMO - it's not a right).

Sorry, just very discouraged.

Another way to look at this issue is how it's justified with an EIS approved by a spineless EPA, and other tools that justify poor decisions. Ask yourself this......are war atrocities justified if you have a good action plan approved by a gov't agency? The impact on the stream is no less an atrocity on the stream than genocidal acts of war carried out on people. The WGFP simply justified with an EIS and sold as stability to growing communities which will benefit economically. It all stinks.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from spuddog wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I've lived my most of my life in AZ and CO and know the importance of the Colorado River. I live in one of the water sucking denver suburbs and my income is based on the contruction industry. I'd find a new job and redo my yard to keep the Colorado intact. It's suffered enough. At this point I don't think there is any way to make it whole again, but that doesn't mean that we should take it down to a trickle and totally destroy the habitat it sustains.

Thanks Kirk.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Larry Cowden wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

The governor obviously believes the river is his to do with as he pleases. Arrogance and ignorance all rolled up into one package. No thought for all those downstream and the damage his plan will cause. Guess he forgot the Grand Canyon needs the Colorado River also to survive. Loss of adequate flow will destroy this national park and wonder. But then again, he was probably paid so much under the table he just doesn't give a dam! Time for recall of that SOB!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from casestevenson wrote 2 years 7 weeks ago

I'm on the prowl for one of those shirts myself. I'm a musician in the front range area, I figure i can wear it at some shows and open mics, try to get the word out around here!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from fliphuntr14 wrote 2 years 6 weeks ago

thanks kirk my email is flip14flop@hotmail.com check it almost daily, would dawn the shirt with pride and spread the word.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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