Did Colorado Launch A $20 Billion Water War Against State’s Rivers?
Denver, CO: Yesterday, the State of Colorado unveiled its first ever Draft “Colorado Water Plan” which was immediately controversial due to the proposed massive number of water projects and price tag. The Draft Plan calls for “hundreds of projects” costing “20 billion dollars.”
During the Governor’s press conference announcing the Plan, Channel 9 News reporter Maya Rodriguez asked how much the Plan would cost to implement, and James Eklund who is Director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the lead author of the report replied, “20 Billion Dollars.”
Further, in order to pay for it, Eklund said the state taxpayers would have to foot the bill, just like taxpayers did in California and Texas, “We need to do the same thing in Colorado and this plan is a platform to have that discussion,” Eklund said.
The controversial Draft Plan follows a day after Eklund made even more controversial comments about Colorado’s role in the Southwest U.S. water wars. As reported by the Associated Press, Eklund said, “If anybody thought we were going to roll over and say, ‘OK, California, you’re in a really bad drought, you get to use the water that we were going to use,’ they’re mistaken.”
The Draft Plan is extremely controversial because it proposes to put dams and diversions across many of the rivers in the state of Colorado. The proposals on the Colorado River could costs billions and would likely ignite a water war throughout the Southwest U.S.
“The Colorado Water Plan is looking like a 20 billion dollar boondoggle to drain and destroy every river in the state,” said Gary Wockner who is director of the river protection groups Save The Poudre and Save The Colorado.
The Plan now enters another whole year of public review and edits. In December of 2015, Governor Hickenlooper is expected to formally sign the Plan. Eklund said that the 2016 State Legislature would then be expected to pass legislation to “streamline permitting” processes and the State government could then embark on promoting and funding a “State Water Project.”
Save The Poudre and Save The Colorado held a banner at the press conference.