Hello Friends of the Colorado River!
Last week a major poll was released showing that the people of Colorado want their governments to focus on water conservation rather than new large diversions and pipelines from Colorado’s already depleted rivers. The poll, conducted by a highly reputable bipartisan polling firm with support from the business group Protect The Flows, was covered in regional media around the basin. As noted in the Public News Service: “More than three-quarters of Coloradans say conservation is the right approach with Colorado’s water – and more than half say building a pipeline to ship Colorado River water to the Front Range isn’t the right solution.” The poll makes clear that the people of Colorado connect to their rivers and want them protected. Pollster Lori Weigel states: “Coloradans’ connection to rivers and how they think about their rivers is different than a lot of other places,” she says. “They connect it to quality of life.”
It’s the snow in the mountains that feeds the Colorado River and its tributaries, and so far the winter of 2012-2013 is dry, causing water forecasters to begin to sound the alarm bells of another drought. Statewide snowpack in Colorado is at 62% of average; the Colorado River basin is even worse. If another hard drought follows on the heals of last winter’s drought, regional water managers are already predicting water shortages and restrictions for residential customers. (Read and listen to the KUNC report here.) Drought can be addressed by residential water managers by learning how to use water more efficiently and stretching every drop. Unfortunately, in most of the Southwest U.S., our rivers don’t have rights to exist, and so drought generally impacts our rivers the hardest.
Last week, Save The Colorado’s Director, Gary Wockner, attended and spoke at the Outdoor Retailers Show in Salt Lake City. The Bonneville Environmental Foundation sponsored a panel discussion about water sustainability in the outdoor retail industry. Panelists included two big outdoor retailers — REI and Patagonia — as well as a textile manufacturer and the Save The Colorado River campaign. REI and Patagonia are doing a great job conserving water through their industrial processes, and much opportunity exists to provide leadership for hundreds of outdoor retailers. We also had some fun at the Show by helping Protect The Flows give away a free raft trip on the Colorado River.
Finally, some good friends of the Save The Colorado River Campaign — our website designers and filmmakers — are branching out and launching a major trip to South America’s Patagonia region to help protect endangered rivers there. Check out this video trailer about their adventure. In Patagonia, dams are planned on some of the wildest rivers on earth — this filmmaking adventure will try to raise awareness so that Patagonia’s rivers don’t have the same fate as many in the U.S.
Thank you for your support!