As I have done twice so far, I attended the RWR public meetings and spoke against the falsehoods and misinformation they put forward. As time goes on these lies must be highlighted so the public understands that they are “pulling the wool over our eyes”. I will work with and support the RGWCD in their efforts to keep water in the valley. I will encourage municipalities as well as agricultural and industrial water users to object to RWR’s eventual court filing, which has not yet occurred. I will work with our local legislators to introduce legislation that would protect our water. I would use our land use codes to inhibit RWR from easily obtaining the easements and right of ways they would need to build pipelines out of the valley. Total land rehabilitation and under-ground lines would be required to maintain our visual aesthetics. Dark skies and quiet must be requirements.
The offer of cash paid to the county as an incentive/bribe, is a lowball offer considering the value of water on the front range. Ongoing payments would have to be part of the bargain. There is the question of how the funds would be distributed, and who would oversee that. Royalties should also be required as water is used and reused.
One to one augmentation would have to be an integral part of the plan to protect the aquifer. RWR would have to buy and retire at least as much water as they intend to pump out. The plan they have put forward to date includes buying and retiring wells that are now only replacing 10%, or less of their actual usage. Once this land is retired, the property taxes the county receives from that land would decrease, and that loss would need to be compensated also.
The most important way to stop water from leaving the valley is to make farming more profitable. When farmers cannot make their bank loan payments, they will use any means to avoid losing their life savings. If that means selling the farm to a water developer, then so be it. It is a catch 22 also. As the aquifer declines, and the state threatens to shut off the wells, people get desperate. Even though pumping water out of the valley may further damage the aquifer, farmers whose wells are in the unconfined aquifer do not have the economic clout to get permits to drill much deeper. RWR says that their plan is to drill very deep wells into the confined aquifer.
By throwing up seemingly insurmountable obstacles to this type of water development, and by working to restore the aquifer and improve the profitability of farming we should be able to slow or even stop this project.