The Colorado Water Congress’ 51st Annual Meeting — that will wind up today at the Hyatt Regency Tech Center — is titled, “Water Buffaloes in the Mist: On Solid Ground in an Uncertain Time.” The breakout sessions run from environmental issues through water law to the economy and infrastructure.
Here are some highlights from yesterday:
Transition to Green
Panel members for this session were: Drew Peternell, Colorado Trout Unlimited; Becky Long, Colorado Environmental Coalition; Amy Beatie, Colorado Water Trust; and Tom Iseman, The Nature Conservancy.
During the Q&A the panelists were asked about the effects of climate change on their relationship with water providers, industry and consumptive use in general. Long said, “We don’t have matching tattoos but we’re hanging out a lot more now.”
When asked about storage projects Peternell told attendees that TU is not against all storage projects but each has to stand on its own and weigh environmental requirements fairly.
A recent example was the filing by the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District for their proposed Dry Gulch Reservoir. Colorado Trout Unlimited filed an objection in water court claiming that the size of the reservoir was not in line with projected growth and that the planning horizon of 100 years was too long.
PAWSD got their decree but the Colorado Supreme Court said no, agreeing with TU.
The BLM and Forest Service are currently reviewing several Colorado stream segments for Wild and Scenic designation. The Colorado River District and others are trying to get support for a program that would manage those river segments as Wild and Scenic without pursuing actual designation.
Peternell said that that type of arrangement is acceptable to TU.