Letter: Conservation district urges ‘yes’ vote on ballot question 7A
Water is arguably our most valuable natural resource. Again this year, extended drought — 20-plus years — is making water scarce and threatening the Colorado River Compact, a 1922 agreement defining how Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, California and Nevada will share the Colorado River water.
The Colorado River Water Conservation District, based in Glenwood Springs, is the umbrella water agency that advocates for the 15 western slope counties defining the Colorado River basin in the state of Colorado. The conservation district has consistently been on the front line defending western slope water from both front range entities and our thirsty downstream neighbors. Their important workload is increasing every year, but their available funds are decreasing because of TABOR and Gallagher. The conservation district revenues are not keeping up with inflation, increased legal/engineering demand, drought and population growth. Current revenues are not sufficient to defend our water from external forces and to prepare us for increased population growth.
That is why we are writing today to offer our support for ballot question 7A. The conservation district request for a modest increase of 0.25 mills of property tax that will go toward partnerships with water users and communities within the conservation district boundaries for priorities approved by local communities and basin roundtables.
The conservation district will continue to protect Colorado River water by using the new revenues to fight to keep water on the western slope; protect water supplies for western slope agriculture; ensure sustainable water supplies for western slope communities; and protect fish, wildlife and recreation by maintaining river levels and water quality.
The Yampa River is a major tributary of the Colorado River basin system. Many people work very hard to protect our western slope water. Here is your chance to do your part in supporting that effort and invest in a secure water future. We do not speak for the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District board, but the directors did pass a resolution of support for 7A at their September meeting.
Please vote yes for question 7A.
Ken Brenner and Doug Monger
UYWCD board president and vice president
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