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Drought reservoir necessary

Richard G. Hamilton, Fairplay

The failure of the Colorado Statewide Water Supply Initiative (SWSI) to separate water storage for carry-over drought “insurance,” and water development for “new” supply, is the critical concept sleight-of-hand within the SWSI proposal. That single omission has the potential to dramatically impact Summit County and Western Colorado water resources. In Colorado, any consideration for new water development presupposes that all “new” water must be used for extending utility service to unserved areas. No consideration or investigation into providing water storage to existing users during emergency drought conditions has been factored into the SWSI study.A proposed new Front Range water storage facility, which could hold approximately 10 times the water that Dillon Reservoir impounds, has been offered as a new-concept drought storage – conservation reserve reservoir. Fremont Fort Reservoir, to be situated northeast of Colorado Springs, would have a storage capacity of ca. 2.4 million acre feet with water dedicated to use only during extensive drought – and when in use as drought relief for Front Range communities, all deliveries from existing mountain reservoirs would be suspended so as not to damage mountain community economies and ecologies. The time to separate “new” water development for service to unwatered developments and water that might be considered as drought insurance “reserve” for existing users has come. When the $2.4 million Colorado SWSI investigates only new water for development, it holds Colorado citizens hostage to a “my way or no way” scenario where further usurpation of the people’s water resources are dedicated to an intensified development mode rather than a security opportunity for existing communities and families.


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