Don’t buy tears for Referendum A |

Don’t buy tears for Referendum A

In his opinion piece appearing on the opposite page, state Sen. Mark Hillman makes his case for voters to pass Referendum A Nov. 4. Too bad he’s wrong.

One of the chief reasons he says voters should pass the $2 billion bonding authorization for water projects is that hundreds of thousands of acre-feet of water are passing out of Colorado to our wasteful neighbors in places such as Las Vegas and Phoenix.

Hillman, like many on the Front Range, wants more Western Slope water to stay in the state so it can be wasted on wanton growth along the Interstate 25 corridor. Of course, it first has to be stored somewhere and pumped over the Divide.

Supporters of Referendum A don’t put it that way, but unless the Front Range changes its ethics about growing now and finding water later, about general water use and temperate-zone landscaping forced into a desert climate, they are in the same class of water wasters as those west of our border.

The trouble is, they want to spend untold billions, at least in the case of the Big Straw, to join the club. The Big Straw is the Front Range dream to harness the “extra” Colorado River water at the Utah border and pump it eastward, likely through Dillon Reservoir.

As we’ve stated before, any water district that wants to build water storage can get financing under current government setups. Referendum A is not needed for money.

And compared to the cost of many projects that could be built under current circumstances, buying water from farmers and drying up land will still be cheaper. So don’t expect that practice to end with Referendum A.

Hillman is right about one thing. Agriculture is in crisis and productive land is going back, ironically, to High Plains desert.

Western Slope residents who don’t want to see their water robbed, and Front Range residents with a conscience, will oppose this water buffalo of a ballot measure.

Opinions published in this space are formulated by members of the Summit Daily News editorial board: Michael Bennett, Jim Pokrandt, Jason Starr, Rachel Toth, Reid Williams, Aidan Leonard and Martha Lunsky.

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