Update: Douglas County Will Not Use Federal Funds on SLV Water Project
A majority of Douglas County commissioners voted in late-May to not use federal COVID relief money flowing to the state from ARPA to fund a proposed water diversion from the San Luis Valley. Read on below to learn more about statewide opposition to the proposed diversion, and actions that the Coalition and its partners took — and will continue to take — to work towards more sustainable, conservation-oriented solutions over costly, harmful water transfers.
Water for Colorado Coalition Opposes Proposed Damaging San Luis Valley Water Export
A recent proposal by Renewable Water Resources (RWR) plans to divert 22,000 acre feet of water annually from the San Luis Valley to Douglas County through a transbasin diversion over Poncha Pass. Douglas County would utilize federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) stimulus funds to partially pay for the acquisition and development of water rights in the San Luis Valley. In response, Water for Colorado has issued the following statement:
“This controversial proposal threatens the economy and way of life for those who live in the San Luis Valley, and demonstrates a harmful use of federal funds. Water for Colorado and its nine partner organizations representing diverse interests across the state stand with the residents of the San Luis Valley and Protect our Water Coalition and join state leaders, including Governor Jared Polis, in strong opposition to the proposal and encourage the Douglas County Commissioners to reject it. Our coalition urges collaborative solutions to Colorado’s water supply concerns that do not irrevocably harm one community in favor of another.”
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Opinion: Sending San Luis Valley water to Douglas County only postpones the inevitable
The state of water in Colorado is dire. You’ve seen the headlines: finite water resources are quickly dwindling in the face of climate change and increased demand. Stories about Lake Powell’s historically low storage level. Wildfires in December, then again in March.
They all have driven conversations about drought and water management from family farms and university science departments to newspapers and dinner tables. Everyone is wondering: How does a state that’s growing ensure a water-secure future when its water supplies are shrinking?
These conversations recently have focused on one controversial proposal to divert water from the San Luis Valley to Douglas County. The idea is borne of broader anxieties about Colorado’s dwindling water resources, its growing population, urban and rural relationships, and the strategies our state can or should employ to meet these challenges.