“Just because a drop of water is available to be dammed, it doesn’t mean it needs to be dammed.”
Chris Garre with The Environmental Group (TEG) says the main issue facing rivers in Colorado is efforts to dam up and divert all the available waters in the state for human and industrial purposes. Garre says this is reflected in the current Colorado Water Plan “which essentially institutionalizes
Garre says that when a river is dammed, it significantly impacts the surrounding ecosystem. “The climate in Colorado is semi-arid overall so the life that exists here which depends on fresh water resource which is everything we have, including humans, a critical point of junction for the interaction between the living systems of this state and its source is the water riparian zone, right along the edge of a free flowing river. So you have a river or a lake, and right along the edge is where all the life gathers. That section is extremely important for sustaining life and especially in a semi-arid climate. When you divert a river and you change the shore line because you have so much less water going through it or no water going through it, you destroy that eco system and along with that go the wetlands and everything from a micro biological level all the way up to the larger animals is a crucial, crucial piece of sustaining a living eco-system.”
Mike Chiropolos, an attorney working with Save the Colorado and The Environmental Group says much of the current attitude towards diverting and storing water from rivers has its roots in current water law and the prior appropriation doctrine.
“This all goes back to use it or lose it…one of the best quotes I heard about where we’re at in terms of Western water law generally is that we’ve got 19th Century Law, 20th Century infrastructure and we’re trying to address 21st century challenges.”
The 4th Annual Rocky Mountain River Celebration is a non-profit sponsored annual event hosted in solidarity with the International Day of Action for Rivers. It will take place on Thursday March 10 at the historic Dickens Opera House in Longmont from 6.30pm.
Our 2016 River Celebration will feature a keynote multi-media performance on the free-flowing Yampa River by illustrious Colorado photographer John Fielder. Also included in the lineup are the hilarious Timmy O’Neill as emcee, the enchanting Gabrielle Louise for musical entertainment, a handful of award-winning river-centric short films, and several speakers on western water issues. Also, this year we will have a seriously big-ticket river item up for raffle for those who donate to the cause.
All proceeds and fundraising from the event will go toward the Boulder County & Colorado River Legal Defense Fund – currently accruing funds for legal action to stop Denver Water’s proposed Moffat/Gross project.