Thread: Water Volume
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Old 02-18-2019, 03:14 PM
Bucksnort Bucksnort is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 550

As I said, I became interested in water issues in Colorado when the Water Board proposed building the Two Forks project. Nineteen miles of the main stem and about ten miles up the north fork would have been lost. I learned a lot during this process. Was I being selfish, you bet. I didn't want to lose my favorite S. Platte fishing at Deckers.

The Division of Wildlife, as it was called then, said if they were to build a reservoir which would have recreational qualities, it would not be Two Forks but they signed off on the project. Many agencies had to put their stamp of approval on it, including the Corps of Engineers, The EPA et al. The reservoir would have been an inefficient provider of water, according to the Water Board's own hydrological data.

TU and others opposed to the project did not hug trees or find a rare microscopic insect; instead, they proposed four alternatives which would provide more water than Two Forks. They proposed water exchanges between providers, ground water, expanding existing structures and, are you ready for this of all things, conservation. Conservation, what a concept. From the time I moved there in the 70s to the time the project was proposed, I never heard a peep from the Water Board about conservation.

Denver Water Board spent $60 million on an environmental impact statement, which they pissed and moaned about after losing the project. I had no sympathy for them because although they thought it was a done deal, it was still a crap shoot.

I will say that people on the west side of the Divide (Dillon, Breckenridge, and agriculture area on the west side of the Divide) were not happy with Two Forks because much, if not most of the water to fill Two Forks would come from the Blue and Fraser Rivers. Farmers and ranchers downstream were unhappy.

Colorado is in a unique situation because no water flows into the state except the Green which dips in the northeast corner for a short distance and the North Platte, which headwaters in Wyoming and dips into the state near Walden for a short distance. Neither river provides water for Colorado. Rain does not provide an appreciable amount of water so it is snow that is so important to Colorado, Arizona, Mexico and others down stream. No snow, no water.

A few years ago, Denver Water said they have enough water to what they call, "build out", which covers their current customers and new construction. I don't recall the exact date but I think it is sometime in early 2020s. I will say I did often hear of how water is so critical in the west. I've not heard anything from anyone in Arizona about conservation and water issues.

Seldom is right. Apparently, water conservation has been successful in AZ by way of low flow toilets and other appliances and water restrictions for landscaping. It's funny, in Colorado, I never heard the word, "zeroscape" until after the Two Forks project was cancelled. You see, the permit for the Two Forks project (issued sometime in the 1930s) has no shelf life so Two Forks could rear its ugly head in the future.

After my experience with TU and Two Forks, I learned of a book titled, "Cadillac Desert" by Mark Reisner. He chronicles the development of water in the west from the time John Wesley Powell rafted the Colorado (with only one arm) in the Grand Canyon to when the book was written. Public Television aired a special on the book.

Is Arizona building homes and business willy nilly without much regard for water? I don't know.

Last edited by Bucksnort; 02-18-2019 at 03:21 PM.
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