Pipeline scheme hijacks credible water planning

Pueblo Chieftain, March 01, 2009
Regarding “Pipeline developer says project being hijacked by water group” in the Feb. 5 Pueblo Chieftain: What’s really in danger of being hijacked in this competitive rush to build a pipeline is a credible, consensus-based plan for meeting Front Range water needs.

The idea of pumping water from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir to the Front Range sounds simple and attractive. The reality is much more complicated and uncertain.

The push by developer Aaron Million, the Parker Water and Sanitation District and other Front Range (often conflicting) water interests to build a wildly expensive pipeline project raises a flood of questions that haven’t yet been adequately addressed:

How would this water diversion affect the ecological attributes of the Green and Colorado Rivers, including their invaluable sport fisheries and federally listed endangered species? What are the realistic costs – both monetary and in terms of energy use – of transporting water 400 miles from Flaming Gorge to the Front Range?

And what about the impact of the pipeline on other Colorado water users who would like to make use of our state’s remaining share of the Colorado River?

A pipeline scheme of this magnitude could decimate important natural resources, become a costly boondoggle and exhaust Colorado’s entitlement to the Colorado River. Front Range water users should proceed with caution.

Before endorsing any pipeline scheme, Front Range communities need to engage in comprehensive, regional water planning that evaluates how we can best meet water needs.

Drew Peternell of Boulder is director of Trout Unlimited’s Colorado Water Project Trout Unlimited.



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