Monday, July 28 2014 @ 02:36 PM PMDT
Contributed by: Admin
Center Post Dispatch, July 23, 2014, Page 1
ALAMOSA San Luis Valley water leaders are bracing themselves and enlisting the support of Colorado's congressional delegation against the latest water export proposal.
Saguache County rancher Gary Boyce's proposal through Sustainable Water Resources to export water from the San Luis Valley to Front Range buyers has raised concern with the Rio Grande Water Conservation District (RGWCD), the organization that led the legal fight against previous water export proposals. During the water district's quarterly meeting last week. General Manager Steve Vandiver told the board that he and four other representatives from the water district went to Washington, D.C. last week to meet with congressmen or their staff to brief them on Boyce's proposal. One of the district's lobbyists, Christine Arbogast, accompanied Vandiver, RGWCD Board President Greg Higel and RGWCD Attorneys David Robbins and Peter Ampe to visit with congressmen such as U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, U.S. Representative Scott Tipton and U.S. Representative Cory Gardner over a two-day period.
"They were very appreciative to understand what was going on," Vandiver told the RGWCD board on Tuesday.
"The level of support and understanding of the impact is really extremely high," Arbogast added. "The congressional delegation with one exception is fully behind you on the proposal put forth by Mr. Boyce. If the time comes they have to weigh in, I am sure they would support you."
She said the congressional folks the group met with were sympathetic to the San Luis Valley concerns about water exportation except for the staff of U.S. Representative Doug Lamborn, 5th District, who indicated if somebody came to Colorado Springs with a potentially new water supply they would welcome it with open arms.
Robbins added that RGWCD is not demanding any course of action from state and federal officials at this time but simply wants them to be aware of what Boyce is proposing, to be aware that the Valley will strenuously resist his proposal and to not be surprised by anyone making claims to the contrary. "We are not making any statements about what is going to happen. We believe Mr. Boyce is entitled to state his position himself," Robbins said.
The RGWCD board has made its position clear, however. "The Rio Grande Water Conservation District is not interested in accepting his $150 million offer to buy their cooperation and the Valley's cooperation in the 35,000-acre-foot export proposal ," Robbins said. "We will wait and see how it develops, and the board should expect to meet in special meetings if/ when an application is filed in water court."