Officials flowing into town for water convention

Danie Harrelson

— Steamboat Springs will host the summer convention of the Colorado Water Congress Thursday and Friday at the Sheraton Steamboat Resort.

The two-day convention will feature locals John R. Fetcher, Water Congress President Dan Birch and state Sen. Jack Taylor.

Various seminars will take a look at the role of federal and state government in water conservation and the relationship between water conservation and endangered species.

The question of state vs. federal water rights has grown complicated, as states must increasingly sort through additional federal water regulations, Water Congress Executive Director Richard MacRavey said.

The Colorado Water Congress was established in 1958 to protect, conserve and develop Colorado’s water resources.

The 26-member board, representing a cross-section of water interests, works to find consensus on a number of water issues.

The Water Congress attempts to answer the age-old question of water rights, MacRavey said.

“Someone is always out there, trying to get someone else’s property and make it their own,” MacRavey said. “Water is definitely that kind of property.”

The Water Congress lobbies for and against water-related legislation and issues and seeks to promote water education in the state.

Every year the organization presents its “Wayne N. Aspinall Water Leader of the Year” award to an outstanding water leader in the state and awards scholarships in various fields.

Board members believe wise use of the state’s water resources depends on informed residents.

Because of Colorado’s small annual amount of precipitation, water rights will remain an important issue, MacRavey added.

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