More reasons to oppose Ref. A |

More reasons to oppose Ref. A

The Nov. 4 election is far off for the flow of ink being spilled about Referendum A, a state ballot question that would authorize $2 billion in borrowing for water projects in arid and drought-shocked Colorado.

But that’s how divisive the issue of water can be here in the arid West.

We’ve already registered our disapproval for a blank check and a political ploy to muscle away more Western Slope water to the Front Range.

More water storage for the benefit of the Western Slope and Front Range is a realistic goal, but our fear is the Front Range will grab more water, at our expense, only to fuel a wasteful water-use ethic.

On the Front Range, growth is allowed without secured water. Furthermore, landscaping alien to the High Plains desert is allowed, if not encouraged, to soak up even more of the precious resource.

County Commissioner Tom Long knows how precious water is and what’s at stake. We’ll let him take over at this point.

As Long pointed out recently to a gathering of local government officials, “I really think Referendum A is a backhanded attempt to get the whole state to vote on a warm and fuzzy water question so the Front Range can come up here and say, “there was a vote and all the people in the state want a project.'”

Two likely suspects are Parker, in Douglas County, and Arapahoe County, both fast-growing suburbs that build first, find water later. Later has become now.

According to Long, just about any water project can already find financing, so the proposed $2 billon borrowing authority is a false issue.

Besides the new borrowing, Referendum A creates marching orders to have projects underway by 2005 and the Western Slope is guaranteed to be the location of one of them.

“This will make everybody on the Western Slope a target and we will have to pay more to secure water rights we already have,” said Long, who also sits on the board of the Colorado River Water Conservation District.

Long is urging the county commissioners and town councils in Summit County to join in a resolution opposing Referendum A to help rally public support against it.

We join his cause.

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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