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State of the River Forum will be full of water talk

SHANNA KOENIG

On May 18, the Colorado River Water Conservation District will host the 12th annual State of the River Forum. I encourage all who are interested in water-related issues to attend. It takes place at 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 18, at the Summit County Community and Senior Center.This is your opportunity to obtain a clearer understanding of the current water situation in the Blue River Watershed. For local ranchers, water providers, and river and lake recreationists, this is the single-most important water meeting held in the Blue River Basin annually.

“If you want to know the facts regarding local snowpack, runoff, streamflows and storage forecasts, as well as, water administration issues, this is the meeting to attend,” says Scott Hummer, the state water commissioner for the Blue River Basin, who will be presenting at the forum. We read in the papers and hear on the news that the drought is over. However, as boaters head south, taking advantage of huge spring runoff, here in the Blue River headwaters area, we remain below 100 percent of average annual snow pack. A lot of uncertainty exists about our current water situation because of the speculation that the drought is coming to an end, and because parts of the state’s snowpack is much higher than the rest. While this forum is important for ranchers, water providers and water recreationists to attend, it’s also important for the average citizen to understand how water is being managed. Water is a complicated matter that has huge impacts on our lives, now and in the future. There is no better time to become informed and educated.

The State of the River Forum is designed to publicize information on projected stream flows and reservoir conditions. One will also learn about major water projects in the Blue River drainage such as water levels in Dillon and Green Mountain reservoir, in addition to why and how water will be managed. Community members will gain knowledge of how the water they visibly see surrounding them is administered and what the impacts are. Peter Roessmann of the Colorado River Water Conservation District sees the forum not only as a chance for “the public to become informed, but it’s also a chance for local citizens to respond and let their water managers hear their concerns.”In addition to the State of the River Forum, the Blue River Watershed Group (BRWG) will have opportunities this summer for water education and involvement. On June 16, at 5:30 p.m., BRWG will host a tour of the Blue River Wastewater Treatment plant. On July 21, at 6 p.m., it will be holding a communitywide forum to discuss water related issues in the Blue River Watershed.

This is an especially important time to become involved and educated about water. Negotiations are ongoing; decisions are made that affect your watershed every day. If you are not engaged, the public will remain uninformed. I encourage you to take part in these upcoming events. Shanna Koenig’s “Got Water” column appears about once a month to inform Summit County citizens about the precious resource of water. She can be reached at (970) 468-0295, ext. 117 or qqwater@colorado.net.


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