Cooperative effort helps to alleviate water problems

Nearly every Western Slope resident is steeped in the knowledge that water problems in this region are exacerbated by the ongoing battle with Front Range water entities over the use of water from this side of the mountains.

Put those notions aside this year.

An agreement announced last week demonstrates how cooperation between Front Range and western Colorado water interests and federal agencies can alleviate water shortages here.

According to a release from the Colorado River District, the district, Denver Water and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation are cooperating to add flows to the Colorado River by making special releases from Wolford Mountain Reservoir, Williams Fork Reservoir and Green Mountain Reservoir. The additional water is expected to boost water flow in the river to help recreation and aid farmers and ranchers in the Grand Valley, even though river flows will still be only about one-sixth of what they have traditionally been at this time of year.

The additional river flows are also expected to reduce water temperatures in Grand County and help trout survive there.

The decision to release the additional water was possible under provisions of the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement that was negotiated between Denver Water and 42 western Colorado entities over the past half-dozen years.

That cooperative agreement is crucial to protecting the long-term water interests of those of us living on the Western Slope. We didn’t expect it to prove its worth so quickly, but it has.

Everyone involved, on both sides of the Divide, deserves credit for cooperating to help reduce effects of this year’s drought.


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