Hello Friends of the Colorado River!
Have you heard of “decoupling?” No, it doesn’t mean that Brad Pitt has broken up with Angelina Jolie. Decoupling is the trend in cities across the Southwest U.S. whereby as population increases, total water use goes down. In fact, in almost every growing city from Denver to L.A., total water use has decreased even though populations have increased over the last 20 years. The cause of the trend is that people are conserving much more water — indoors and outdoors — and are living on smaller lots or in multi-family housing like apartments and condos. Denver exemplifies this trend perfectly — over the last 30 years, it’s population has grown by 40%, but it’s water use has gone down by 10%. That’s one of the many reasons why we have dug in our heels to fight to stop Denver Water’s proposed new dam and diversion of water out of the Colorado River. Simply put, Denver Doesn’t Need The Water. If you want to learn more, the journalist/author/academican John Fleck has a new book coming out discussing “decoupling” — there’s a sneak peak on The Breakthrough Institute’s website here.
Our efforts to stop Denver Water’s river-destruction scheme, as well as others, are ramping up across the Southwest! In Colorado, the Denver Post has recently highlighted our work through two columns and an article about Denver Water’s project. One story quoted me: “The Gross Dam project is reckless and will further drain and destroy the Fraser and Upper Colorado River as well as cause irrevocable damage to the environment and citizens of Boulder County.” In another column titled “A River of Falsehoods,” I outlined the massive negative impacts of the project, and in another story, I said the proposal would lead to the “complete annihilation of a river system.” A colleague of ours, Jen Pelz from Wildearth Guardians, also wrote a column in the Denver Post opposing the new dam/diversion projects and argued that “Colorado’s Rivers Need A Pardon, Not A Death Sentence.”
And, we’re fighting to protect the Colorado River in Utah, too. Two weeks ago we sent our “Intervention” letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in our fight against the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline, a scheme to take a massive amount of water out of the Colorado River to slake growth in the Utah desert. In our lengthy legal letter, we argue that FERC should “Deny” the permit for the project, and that the supporters of the project should focus on alternatives including conservation, water recycling, and water agreements with farmers.
Check out our new boardmember, Mark Dubois! We’re excited to announce that the renowned Mark Dubois has joined out board of directors. Mark has a long history of river protection and environmental advocacy in the U.S. and internationally.
In 1979, Mark became famous when he chained himself to a rock as the Army Corps of Engineers was flooding California’s Stanislaus River behind a huge new dam. In the years after, Mark co-founded California’s river protection organization, Friends of the River, and co-founded the international river advocacy organization, International Rivers. Mark was the international coordinator for Earth Day in 1990 and 2000, and has continued to press for environmental protection in various professional roles since then. Mark joined us on our Green River trip last year, and now, as a member of our board, he will help us paddle into the future. And yes, he almost always has a smile like that on his face! Check out this story and video about Mark and the Stanislaus River. Welcome Mark!
Thank you for all of your support, friends! Stay tuned for more action! Happy July!