Under Colorado’s complex water laws, Denver is legally entitled to the Colorado River water without all of the concessions in the agreement, and that’s partly why this proposal is being hailed as so historic.
“In my experience of forty years of living on the west slope, this is a complete paradigm shift in the way the two sides have worked with each other,” said Kirk Klanke, president of the Colorado River Headwaters chapter of Trout Unlimited in Frasier.
He added: “It’s always been us versus them, and this is a collaborative effort.”
But Klanke said this proposed settlement doesn’t address all the concerns facing the Upper Colorado River, including diversions planned during high run off that he worries could negatively impact how much sediment is flushed downstream.
And then there’s the plan by another powerful Front Range agency, Northern Water, which like Denver Water, has also proposed to increase the amount of water it diverts to the eastern plains.
But Northern spokesman Brian Werner said expect a similar settlement to become public soon between his agency and western slope interests.