Summit hosts two public events on water priorities |

Summit hosts two public events on water priorities

The construction of Dillon Reservoir, Denver Water's largest water storage facility, relocated the entire town of Dillon and a hydroelectric plant. Completed in 1963, Dillon Dam diverts water from the Blue River Basin through the Harold D. Roberts Tunnel under the Continental Divide to supply the Denver metro area.
Bill Linfield/Special to the Daily |

Local residents are invited to learn the latest on the Colorado Water Plan and contribute their opinions on Tuesday, April 14, at a public panel discussion.

The event will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Summit County Community and Senior Center in Frisco.

Representatives from the Colorado River Basin Roundtable and the South Platte River Basin Roundtable will present their basin implementation plans, which detail long-term regional water priorities like new infrastructure and restoration projects.

Speakers will include Summit County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier, Colorado River Basin Roundtable chairman Jim Pokrandt, Colorado Water Conservation Board program manager Jacob Bornstein and South Platte Basin Roundtable vice-chairman Joe Frank.

“We’re ecstatic that the Colorado Supreme Court upheld permanent protection for this scenic river in Colorado’s Red Rock Canyon country.” Rob Harrisstaff attorney at Western Resource Advocates

Another upcoming event will present residents with local and regional updates on water, drought, snowpack, reservoir levels, streamflows and weather forecasts.

Summit County’s 22nd annual State of the River will be May 5 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Silverthorne Pavilion.

Eric Kuhn, general manager of the Colorado River District, will be the keynote speaker, and representatives from Denver Water, Colorado Springs Utilities, the Colorado Division of Water Resources and the Bureau of Reclamation will speak.

Landmark legal decision protects Colorado rivers

The Colorado Supreme Court made a landmark decision Monday, April 6, by ruling against a water development company and upholding water rights that protect river flows

The court said a senior water rights holder, Farmers Water Development Co., is unaffected by the instream water rights on the San Miguel River, and the decision affirmed that state water rights are a legitimate, essential tool to protect Colorado’s fish and wildlife.

“We’re ecstatic that the Colorado Supreme Court upheld permanent protection for this scenic river in Colorado’s Red Rock Canyon country,” said Rob Harris, staff attorney at Western Resource Advocates (WRA).

“This case will long be remembered for preserving healthy rivers throughout Colorado as a legacy for future generations. Fishermen, boaters and wildlife need these sorts of instream water right protections to secure water for their needs.”

In 2013, the Water Court in Montrose ruled in favor of the Colorado Water Conservation Board’s application for instream flow protection to safeguard water for fish in the San Miguel River, one of the last relatively free-flowing rivers in Colorado.

Farmers Water Development Co. challenged the decision, claiming their water right would be negatively impacted.

The San Miguel River rises in the mountains southeast of Telluride and flows through San Miguel and Norwood canyons then past Placerville and Nucla before joining the Dolores River in Montrose County.

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