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PRESS RELEASE: Save The Colorado Tells BuRec to issue “STOP CONSTRUCTION” orders to Denver Water and Northern Water

July 25, 2022
For Immediate Release
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado, 970-218-8310

Save The Colorado Tells BuRec to issue “STOP CONSTRUCTION” orders to Denver Water and Northern Water

Front Range, Colorado: Today, Save The Colorado sent a comment letter to the Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), Camille Touton, requesting that USBR issue “STOP CONSTRUCTION” orders to Denver Water and Northern Water which are building the Moffat Collection System Project and Windy Gap Firming Project, respectively, in Colorado (See news report here in Water Education Colorado describing the construction).

Save The Colorado’s letter is posted here.

Save The Colorado’s letter to BuRec states,

“The Upper Basin States – CO, WY, UT, and NM – are all planning new dams, diversions, and pipelines that would remove a new ~400,000 acre feet of water out of the Colorado River, on average, every year. Further, Denver Water and Northern Water right now are constructing two new projects that would remove a new ~45,000 acre feet of water, on average, out of the Colorado River each year. Denver Water’s project is named the ‘Moffat Collection System Project’ (15,000 acre feet) and Northern Water’s project is named the ‘Windy Gap Firming Project”'(30,000 acre feet). 

Further yet, neither Denver Water nor Northern Water has secured, or even tried to secure, ‘replacement water’ to offset these new diversions. Such replacement water could be secured by buying water from farmers on the Western Slope of Colorado and then sending that water downstream to compensate, equally, for the new diversion amount upstream by those projects.” 

Accordingly, Save The Colorado requests that USBR issue “STOP CONSTRUCTION” orders on the projects so the projects are fully stopped and never restarted or until downstream “replacement water” is secured to substitute for the water diverted out of the Colorado River.

Save The Colorado sent the letter in response to Commissioner Touton’s June 14th speech to the U.S. Subcommittee on Energy and Natural Resources demanding that the Colorado River states come up with a Plan in 60 days to divert 2 – 4 million acre feet of less water in 2023. Subsequently, the Upper Colorado River Commission, representing CO/UT/WY/NM, sent a letter with their “Plan” to Commissioner Touton on July 20th saying it was continuing the status quo and that the Lower Basin needed to make massive cutbacks, not the Upper Basin. In response, Save The Colorado called the Upper Colorado River Commission Plan “meaningless gibberish” (see press release here), in part because it continues the status quo of proposing and constructing 400,000 acre feet of new diversions out of the Upper Colorado River.

Further, just yesterday, Colorado River experts John Fleck, Eric Kuhn, and Jack Schmidt posted a blog stating that the Upper Colorado River Commission had been falsifying the data and statements that it had sent to USBR, calling the Upper Colorado River Commission’s statements “dangerous” (that blog is posted here).

“The number one rule when you’re in a hole is to stop digging,” said Gary Wockner of Save The Colorado. “The Upper Colorado River Commission, as well as Denver Water and Northern Water, need to stop digging more holes and constructing more dams and diversions. They need to divert less water, not more.”

This press release is posted here.

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