The fighting has begun
County Commissioner Tom Long, the county’s top water expert, thinks the Western Slope is in a crooked card game. We would agree.The rigged dealing concerns whether the Western Slope has excess water to send over to the Front Range to save the likes of Douglas County and other places that grow first and worry about water second.Long and local water planner Lane Wyatt took part in the state-sponsored Statewide Water Supply Initiative (SWSI). Phase I of the study is about complete, and already Western Slope interests are writing a letter to protest a SWSI assertion the water is here for the taking.Wyatt said the data proving that are flawed to its core. “My personal opinion is that if we had a honest game and an honest process, (SWSI) would be a good thing, but it is my impression we are being dealt from the bottom of the deck every time we turn around,” Long said.Long told the Board of County Commissioners Monday the SWSI report is going to the General Assembly without the Colorado River Basin SWSI Roundtable of people such as himself having a chance to review it. The letter is a pre-emptive strike to get a Western Slope protest attached to the report. Why is all of this important? Because if the Front Range-dominated General Assembly thinks the water is here for the taking, the money will appear to build projects to grab it. As the old but true saying goes, “Water flows uphill toward money.””SWSI is really Referendum A’s ugly sister,” Long said. Referendum A would have directed borrowed money to unspecified water projects, but voters defeated it last November. Opposition came from a curious mix of environmentalists, fiscal conservatives and the Western Slope trying to hold on to the water not already diverted eastward.Another old saying is that “Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting.”It looks like the fighting has started.
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