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PRESS RELEASE: Colorado River Water Deliveries to Colorado Front Range To Get “Strategically Reduced”

For Immediate Release 
Feb. 27, 2019 

Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado, 970-218-8310

Water Deliveries To Colorado Front Range May Soon Be “Strategically Reduced” To Address Colorado River Drought

“Building even more dams and diversions is a ponzi scheme that escalates the environmental destruction and political chaos.” — Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado

Northern Colorado: Last night, leaders of the Northern Colorado Water Conservation District (“Northern Water”) told the Loveland City Council that water deliveries from the Colorado River may soon get “strategically reduced” to comply with new policies to address the drought in the Colorado River basin. The Loveland Reporter-Herald reports on the story here. The news report says that water from the “Colorado-Big Thompson” project and the “Windy Gap” project may see reductions of 10% of their water deliveries in order to send that water down to Lake Powell to comply with the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan.

For five years, Save The Colorado has repeatedly pointed out that these reductions are likely to occur, and thus it makes no sense to be building new dam/diversion projects that would exacerbate the water shortage in the Colorado River system. In fact, at the same time that water delivery reductions are being planned, new dam and diversion projects are being planned by the very same entities along the Front Range of Colorado including Northern Water and Denver Water to further drain and destroy the Colorado River. The City of Loveland itself is a participant in Northern Water’s “Windy Gap Firming Project”, a proposal to divert a new 9 billion gallons of water out of the Colorado River. Further yet, because the Windy Gap Firming Project is a “junior” water right, it may see the earliest reductions thus jeopardizing the $350 million project before it is even built.

To protect the Colorado River and its ecosystem, Save The Colorado is the lead co-plaintiff in lawsuits that have been filed in federal district court in Denver that aim to stop these new dam and diversion projects before they are built. Lawsuits have been filed against Northern Water’s “Windy Gap Firming Project” and against Denver Water’s “Moffat Collection System Project”. Together those projects would divert a new 45,000 acre feet of water out of the Colorado River every year (around 12 billion gallons).

“It’s insane to be further draining the Colorado River, imperiling its ecosystem and increasing the threat to water supplies,” said Gary Wockner, director of Save The Colorado. “The river is already overallocated and too heavily diverted, with reductions in diversions imminent. Building even more dams and diversions is a ponzi scheme that escalates the environmental destruction and the political chaos.”

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