Letter to the editor: Vote ‘yes’ on Measure 7A to protect our water | SummitDaily.com
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Letter to the editor: Vote ‘yes’ on Measure 7A to protect our water

Karn Stiegelmeier
Silverthorne

I represent Summit County on the Colorado River District Board. There are 15 Western Slope counties and 500,000 people in the district. We are small compared to the 40 million people who rely on the Colorado River. Our Blue River and tributaries are the lifeblood of our county, providing water for drinking, recreation, snowmaking, fishing, agriculture and a beautiful view along our recpaths. Climate change has increased temperatures and evaporation, and decreased precipitation meaning less water in our rivers, while Colorado’s growing population is driving unprecedented competition for our water.

Since 1937, the river district has been our advocate, supporting projects to protect and improve our water supplies and streams, negotiating and litigating to keep Western Slope water on the Western Slope. These are very complicated legal proceedings. The district has been a critical leader in the Colorado River Compact negotiations. This seven-state water agreement splits the water between upstream and downstream states. With warming climate, there has not been adequate water reaching Lake Powell. Colorado may be required to stop using water to send more water to Powell. It is more important than ever to keep the river district negotiating to protect our Western Slope water.

Declining revenue from reduced oil and gas activity in some counties, and Gallagher and TABOR effects, has heavily impacted the district’s budget. We have cut expenses by 15% with significant staff reductions, but demands on our water are growing while the district’s resources are declining.

This modest tax increase will mean an additional $1.90 per year for every $100,000 of home value. If the measure fails, the district will be facing devastating resource cuts at this time when the need is more crucial than ever.

Vote “yes” on Measure 7A to protect our water, our economy and our lifestyle.


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