Letter: We need to implement water conservation efforts now | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: We need to implement water conservation efforts now

Recently, I participated in a “Water in the West” class through EcoFlight, Flight Across America. For three days, we traveled the upper and lower basins of the Colorado River watershed, learning about and discussing pertinent issues and solutions regarding water in the West. We also engaged with leaders from the Colorado River District, CO Wildlands Project, American Rivers, Western Slope Conservation Center and Glen Canyon Institute.

Our flight path took us from Grand Junction over Ruby-Horsethief, Westwater, down through Canyonlands, over Lake Powell, Glen Canyon Dam and the Grand Canyon. Seeing the mosaic landscape that has been sculpted by water from the aerial perspective was astonishing. Holistically, this experience accentuated the harsh desiccated reality of the current circumstances regarding water in the West. 

As our communities, economies and ecosystems celebrate a record snowpack year, let us consider the frozen reservoir that will melt. This year’s snowpack may have provided a band-aid to help with water supply and demand issues in the West. However, unless we receive consecutive record-breaking snow years, water shortages seem eminent. Regardless of the dichotomous perspectives on legal water releases, the historical numbers tell the truth: The supply doesn’t meet the demand. To avoid unnecessary water litigations and further ecosystem degradation from lack of action and overconsumption, isn’t it time that heads are pulled out of the sediment build up in Lake Powell and the bathtub rings on the walls are seen?

Although yesterday, last month, last year was the time to establish and implement water conservation efforts, how about we start implementing these strategies today, encompassing all populations that rely on this precious resource and setting positionalities aside and meeting on the middle ground? We don’t have to agree on why there is a shortage of water, be it climatic perturbations, over allocations, population increase, etc. Rather, let’s work together and agree on what. What are we going to do today, tomorrow, next month, next year? We need to take efforts inclusive to all stakeholders of this resource, socially, environmentally and economically, that allow for sustainable consumption.

Luke Kimmes
Steamboat Springs

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