DWR officials say undecreed ponds throughout the region are depleting the Colorado River system in a time when a climate change-fueled drought makes it more important than ever to account for every last drop of water.
Annual demand-management payments across western Colorado would total almost $5.9 million under the moderate scenario and nearly $24 million under the aggressive scenario.
But as western Colorado continues its shift to an outdoor-recreation and tourism-based economy, supporters of 7A agree with Mueller that the River District’s focus is shifting with it.
But even after Rio Blanco reduced the amount of water it’s asking for by more than 23,000 acre-feet, a report from Colorado’s top water engineers indicates the district still largely has a project in search of a need.
“Residents of the valley are concerned that future negligent or illegal actions taken by this company may put both Yule Creek and the Crystal River at additional risk,” the letter reads.
But even with shepherding, it’s unlikely the entire 1,800 acre-feet will make it to the state line because of this year’s dry conditions.
Ely, the Pitkin County representative on the River District board, was the lone “no” vote against the ballot measure in July, saying that the district’s fiscal implementation plan — where it outlines how the tax money could be allocated — is not directly tied to the ballot language, so there’s no commitment on how exactly the money will be spent.
Aspen would use improved streamflow data from Castle Creek to manage its municipal diversion, which is just downstream from the planned location of the new stream gauge.
Boebert agreed and played up the urban/rural divide, saying she is against more transmountain diversions to the Front Range and is primed to fight for Western Slope water.
Downstream from the Grizzly Creek Fire, beginning in DeBeque Canyon, is critical habitat for four species of endangered fish: humpback chub, Colorado pikeminnow, bonytail and razorback sucker.