Colorado River Update! L.A., Grand Canyon, Colorado, and New Mexico!

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

There’s a lot going on right now and opportunities for you to take action! Here’s a swing around the Colorado River basin.

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LOS ANGELES: If you’re in Los Angeles tonight, join our super friends at the Los Angeles Waterkeeper for their Dirty for the Drought Cocktail Party! Waterkeeper’s “Dirty Car Pledge” has been a huge success, raising awareness and getting national attention on NBC news while also conserving a lot of water in Los Angeles. Nearly 10,000 people have pledged to not wash their cars for 60 days in order to save water and help Southern California through this drought.The Cocktail Party tonight is a celebration of the Dirty for the Drought campaign — a big party and educational event about water conservation. L.A. gets nearly 1/2 of its water from the Colorado River, so conservation is river protection for L.A. and beyond.

GRAND CANYON, TAKE ACTION! Save The Colorado is proud to join the coalition in support of creating the Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument. Our friends at Sierra Club are leading this campaign — we are joining them shoulder-to-shoulder to encourage President Obama to create the monument. You can click through here to send an email to President Obama. The Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument would help protect the area around Grand Canyon National Park from logging and mining, especially from dangerous uranium mining that threatens to pollute the Park and the hick-troutColorado River. Please click through to take action, and stay tuned for more information on this issue in the coming months.

COLORADO, TAKE ACTION! The Colorado Water Plan is still moving forward, and still moving in the wrong direction. Governor John Hickenlooper has yet to say much about the plan but his staff member in charge of the plan, James Eklund, has been saying many of the wrong things — arguing for billions of dollars of new dam projects and a statewide tax to pay for it. The Colorado Water Plan process will continue to escalate throughout 2015 with a final plan being signed by the Governor in December. Because over half of all of the water in the Colorado River falls in Colorado in the form of snow and then melts to create the river, the Colorado Water Plan is very important for the entire Southwest U.S. This plan MUST NOT support new dams and diversions of water out of the Colorado River. Once again, you can click through here to send an email to Governor Hickenlooper. Yesterday, some young kids from Nuestro Rio visited with Governor Hickenlooper and gave him a cool new trout tie. Let’s encourage the Governor to do right by trout and people by protecting and restoring the Colorado River!

NEW MEXICO, WHAT’S GOING ON? Last week New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez appointed a new person to be the director of the Interstate Stream SUSANA-MARTINEZCommission. Unfortunately this person was a vice president for a big engineering company that had over $1 million in contracts with the very same Interstate Stream Commission to study and design the “Gila River Diversion,” a large draining of water out of the last free-flowing river in New Mexico. Is that a conflict of interest? We sent out this press release (click here to read it) and are encouraging folks to once again contact the Governor’s office and ask her to STOP the Diversion and focus on alternatives instead.

Finally, it’s REALLY SNOWING in Colorado this week. Some friends sent us this provocative photo — enjoy!save-the-powder

Stay tuned for more action!

 

Gila River Diversion: Conflict of interest in New Mexico?

February 23, 2015
For Immediate Release
Contact: Gary Wockner, E.D. Save The Colorado, 970-218-8310

GILA RIVER DIVERSION: CONFLICT OF INTEREST IN NEW MEXICO?
Governor Martinez appoints new Interstate Stream Commissioner

Colorado River, U.S.: The controversy around the proposed Gila River Diversion in New Mexico keeps escalating. Recall that the New Mexico Governor-appointed “Interstate Stream SUSANA-MARTINEZCommission” agreed to support the Diversion in late 2014. The agreement in part stemmed from a widely criticized but favorable design and evaluation work done by an engineering consulting firm, Bohannon-Huston Inc., a company paid over $1 million by the State Commission in the past 3 years. Now, Governor Martinez has appointed the Vice President of Bohannon-Huston to be the new Director of New Mexico’s Interstate Stream Commission. Read the story here on KRWG TV’s website, “Martinez Appoints New Leader For New Mexico Commission Overseeing Possible Gila Diversion.”

The State of New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission had these past contracts with Bohannon-Huston Inc. for work in the Gila (“AWSA” is the Gila River Diversion):

  1. 5/14/2012 Bohannon-Huston, Inc. Review with ISC staff the project objectives, requirements and design criteria as available. Assist the ISC staff in crafting draft scopes of work for engineering assessments of the 16 projects selected by the ISC for further assessment for funding under the 2004 AWSA GR-12-1 9714 $8,440
  2. 1/15/2013 Bohannon-Huston, Inc. Grant County effluent reuse and reservoir and City of Bayard effluent reuse GR-13-1 10576 $67,908
  3. 5/7/2013 Bohannon-Huston, Inc. Gila Engineering Services GR-13-2 11041 $260,686
  4. 9/4/2013 Bohannon-Huston, Inc. Grant County effluent reuse and reservoir and City of Bayard effluent reuse GR-13-1 11638 $18,990
  5. 5/12/2014 Bohannon-Huston, Inc. Phase II Engineering Evaluation of the 2004 AWSA Diversion and storage proposals GR-14-1 12596 $698,527TOTAL: $1,054,551

“What’s going on in New Mexico?” ask Gary Wockner, E.D. of the Save The Colorado River Campaign. ”Is it a ‘conflict of interest’ for Governor Martinez to appoint an executive of a state contractor to an important post which funds and oversees those contracts?”

The Gila River in New Mexico is one of the last free-flowing tributaries in the Colorado River basin.

–end–

 

PRESS RELEASE: Missouri River Pipeline Bill Highlights Fiscal Irresponsibility of Colorado Water Plan

For Immediate Release
February 17, 2015
Contact: Gary Wockner, E.D., Save The Colorado, 970-218-8310


Missouri River Pipeline Bill Highlights Fiscal Irresponsibility of Colorado Water Plan

Denver, CO: On Wednesday February 18, the Colorado House of Representatives Agriculture, Livestock, and Natural Resources Committee will have a hearing on House Bill 15-1167 concerning the development of new water supplies for the growing areas of Colorado along the I-25 corridor from Colorado Springs to Denver to Greeley. Section 1-IV of the bill states, “Assess the feasibility of constructing a pipeline to import water into Colorado from the Missouri River basin; …”

Often called the “Missouri River Pipeline,” this idea was also proposed during the U.S. Dept. of Interior’s “Basin Study” back in 2013 and dismissed by Secretary Ken Salazar 10water-map-popupas “impractical and not feasible” amid cost estimates of $8.6 billion. However, now just a little over two years later, a draft of the “Colorado Water Plan” (which doesn’t include the Missouri River Pipeline) indicated that the plan would cost up to $20 billion to achieve many of the same goals and likely require a multi-billion dollar statewide tax increase to pay for it.

“This Missouri River Pipeline bill highlights the fiscal irresponsibility of the Colorado Water Plan,” said Gary Wockner, E.D. of the Save The Colorado River Campaign. “Just two years ago everyone said $8.6 billion was a ridiculous amount of money, and now the state agency in charge of the Colorado Water Plan suggests that $20 billion is reasonable. This Colorado Water Plan is a multi-billion dollar boondoggle to destroy Colorado’s rivers – it has been completely taken over by the water buffaloes in the state.”

The extremely controversial process around the Colorado Water Plan has dragged on for eighteen months and will continue through the end of 2015. The plan is proposed to be a policy guide to provide water to new population growth, much of which would take place in sprawling suburbs along the Denver megalopolis. In Colorado and throughout the Southwest U.S., fifty percent or more of municipal water is used in sprawling suburbs to keep Kentucky blue grass green in semi-desert environments.

“The Colorado Water Plan highlights how ridiculous and expensive it is to use precious water to grow grass,” said Wockner. “But, to be sarcastic, if we’re going to use the water to grow Kentucky bluegrass, then why not import water from around Kentucky to keep it green – it could be a lot cheaper than the Colorado Water Plan, right?”

The Missouri River Pipeline concept is still moving forward whether Colorado participates or not. (See Circle of Blue news service article.) In fact, a report on the Pipeline concept was just released by the Army Corps of Engineers in January 2015. The proposal in the Basin Study was to divert 600,000 acre feet of Missouri River water to Colorado, which is about 1% of the 60 million-acre-foot average flow in the Missouri River.

However, both the Colorado Water Plan and Missouri River Pipeline bill highlight why cheaper, faster, easier alternatives should also be studied and implemented first. Save The Colorado urges state agencies to study a “Healthy Rivers Alternative,” much like what was prepared for the Cache la Poudre River of Northern Colorado. Called “A Better Future for the Poudre River,” the reported indicated that the water needs of one proposed dam/reservoir project to support new growth could be satisfied by focusing on water conservation, recycling, reuse, growth management, water transfers from farms that growth will occur on top of, and water-sharing agreements with farmers (so-called “Super Ditch” concepts). In fact, the Basin Study report put out by the U.S. Dept. of Interior supported a similar proposal, that “Conservation is the cheapest, quickest solution to the West’s water woes.” The report calculated these water supply costs for comparison:

  • Ocean desalination: $1,500 to $2,100 per acre foot of water, 15 to years to see first water
  • Missouri River pipeline: $1,700 – $2,300 per acre foot, 30 years to first water
  • Towing icebergs down from Alaska: $2,700 – $3,400 per acre foot, 15 years to first water
  • Municipal conservation – $500 – $900 per acre foot, 5 years to first water
  • Agricultural conservation – $150 – $750 per acre foot, 10 years to first water

“Will Colorado waste billions of dollars on plans and pipeline schemes, or will Colorado focus on the cheapest, fastest, easiest path to new water supply?” asked Wockner. “In addition, a Healthy Rivers Alternative protects rivers in Colorado and in neighboring states.”

–end–

PRESS RELEASE: Governors Omit “Colorado River” From State of the State Speeches

For Immediate Release
February 11, 2015
Contact: Gary Wockner, E.D., Save The Colorado, 970-218-8310

Despite its Importance in the West, Governors Fail to Address “Colorado River” in Key Speeches
Poll results indicate voters prioritize healthy rivers

Colorado River, USA: In the last month, all seven governors in the Colorado River basin gave their “State of the State” (SOTS) speeches, and the one big thing that ties all seven together – the Colorado River – was not mentioned in any of their speeches. An analysis of the speeches, as well as a word cloud created by Save The Colorado (below), showed the complete omission of the phrase “Colorado River” and the word “river” was only mentioned twice and unrelated to protecting any rivers.

All of this neglect is in glaring conflict with a poll released yesterday – the “State of the Rockies” poll by Colorado College – indicating that voters in the Rocky Mountain states believe “low levels in rivers” is their single “most serious” concern.  Further, the poll indicated that 74% of voters in the headwaters states of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming believe that elected officials should focus on “conservation, reuse, and recycling” to get new water supplies rather than “diverting more water from rivers.”

The 2015 seven-state Colorado River Governors’ SOTS word cloud is here:

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The Colorado River and its tributaries are the lifeblood of the Southwest U.S. – providing water for urban populations, agriculture, and the environment across the entire basin from Denver to Los Angeles. Further, an economic study released last month by the business organization “Protect The Flows” indicated that the Colorado River provides $1.4 trillion of GNP to the seven states.

Further yet, over the past three years several studies by scientists and the U.S. Dept. of Interior have indicated that the Colorado River is in long-term drought, threatened even more by climate change, and an official “shortage” is likely to be declared in the next few years for the first time in history that would decrease the water available for diversion. Reservoir levels are at historic lows, river flows are decreasing, and fish and wildlife habitat as well as the recreation economy along the river are threatened. In 2013 the Colorado River was named the “Most Endangered River in America,” and the river is completely drained dry before it reaches the Gulf of California.

“The Colorado River ties these governors together and creates much of the economy, culture, and environment for every one of their states and this entire region of the U.S.,” said Gary Wockner who directs the Save The Colorado River Campaign from Fort Collins, Colorado. “Their complete failure to mention the Colorado River or to discuss healthy river flows in their speeches is a serious disconnect between them and the voters who elected them. We have a long way to go to get these governors and other decision makers to recognize that healthy flowing rivers are important pieces of regional economies and the environment.”

  • In New Mexico, Governor Susana Martinez has refused to take a position on the proposed billion-dollar Gila River Diversion. She has allowed her Interstate Stream Commission to support it even while many local and conservation groups oppose it. The Gila flows into the Colorado River – the diversion would have dramatic negative impacts on the free-flowing Gila.
  • In Colorado, Governor Hickenlooper’s Water Conservation Board Director James Eklund has created a draft of the first-ever “Colorado Water Plan” which so-far has proposed new massive and exorbitantly expensive diversions out of the state’s rivers including the Colorado River. Governor Hickenlooper has not yet taken a strong position on the draft plan, but has indicated he supports conservation more than new diversions.
  • In Arizona, Governor Ducey’s state will likely be the first to feel the pinch as drought, overuse, and climate change continue their grip on the Colorado River – the Central Arizona Project predicted a 61% chance of a “shortage” being declared that would impact their allotment of Colorado River water. Governor Ducey has not yet spoken out about river protection in his state.

The seven Governors are Jerry  Brown from California, Doug Ducey from Arizona, Matt Mead from Wyoming, John Hickenlooper from Colorado, Brian Sandoval from Nevada, Susana Martinez from New Mexico, and Gary Herbert from Utah.  The text of all seven speeches is posted here.

–end–

Colorado River Update: Take Action to Protect The Grand Canyon!

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

Happy February — let’s get to work!  First, we are delighted to join in the effort to protect the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon by promoting the “Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument.” Further, we are excited to give a big THANK YOU and AZ-Dems-smallshout out to three Arizona Congress members who just last week wrote a letter to President Obama asking him to designate the Monument. This Monument would protect water quality and landscapes in the greater Grand Canyon area and keep this gem beautiful and alive for future generations.  You can click through here to our facebook page to “like” and “thank” U.S. Congressmembers Ann Kirkpatrick, Raul Grijalva, and Rueben Gallego. Please Click Here To Thank Them.

These three friends of protected landscapes and the Grand Canyon ecosystem stand out in their leadership. President Obama needs to designate the National Monument to continue his own environmental leadership in has last two years in office. You can read more about the Monument and their letter to Obama in this news report here. It’s great to see members of Congress acting to protecting our river and environment!

Second, could 2015 be the biggest dam removal year in America? Our friends at the national environmental group American Rivers have created this cool map of all of dam-removal-map-screenshot-500x302the dam removal projects in American history. In 2014, 72 dams were removed. In 2015, we’ve joined with American Rivers to set a goal of 75! Let’s take down those Deadbeat Dams!

The river renaissance in America is running across the country — we need to keep it alive and moving in the Colorado River basin states too. Check out this nice blog post in National Geographic written by friend of the river Michelle Nijhuis. And also notice on the map that almost no dams have been removed in the Colorado River basin of the Southwest U.S. Let’s get moving (removing?). Further, the powers that be are trying to build even more dams in the Southwest U.S. to further drain and destroy the Colorado River ecosystem — that’s the WRONG direction! We need to remove dams, not build more.

What Can You Do About It? Join Us!  On January 1, 2015, Save The Colorado launched our $15 membership program so that you can join us in protecting the Colorado STC_tshirtRiver, fighting new dams, and keeping the water flowing for people and the endangered fish and ecosystem across the Southwest U.S. And, when you join Save The Colorado, we will send you this amazing and famous t-Shirt.

Please click through here to become a member of Save The Colorado!

For just $15, you become a member of Save The Colorado AND receive this cool t-shirt that comes in men’s and women’s options for all shapes and sizes. Nothing quite adorns a raft or camping trip like wearing the official t-shirt of the “Skinny Dippers” in the Colorado River.

Stay tuned for more action on how to protect and restore the Colorado River — we’ll keep you informed every week about all the news and updates across the basin in New Mexico, Colorado, Southern California and all points in between.

Keep up the great work — Go Team!

The Colorado River: Worth A TRILLION Dollars!

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

Welcome to our first post of 2015! There’s lots of new information and action coming forward — it should be an exciting year around the management of the Colorado River. ptf-studyFirst, just last week an economic study out of the Dept of Economics at Arizona State University indicated that water in the Colorado River brings in over $1 TRILLION of economic activity to the seven states in the Southwest U.S. including Southern California. That’s REAL money, an eye-popper that ought to get the attention of decision-makers across the region.

The study, funded by business/environment organization Protect The Flows, hopes to raise awareness about the impacts of drought and climate change. The study said that if the flow in the river drops just 10%, it would cost the region $143 billion and 1.6 million jobs. Check out the story in the Wall Street Journal here.

It’s great to have a business voice out there advocating to keep the river flowing. In addition, it brings into sharp focus the second big issue the Colorado River is facing in 2015 — proposals for EVEN MORE dams that would further deplete flows. Check out this column I wrote in EcoWatch last week, “Stop The War Against The Colorado Screenshot (209)River.” At the same time that the health of the river and business success is dependent on keeping the river flowing, the upstream states — Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico — are proposing tens-of-billions of dollars in new dam projects that would further drain the river.

These proposed projects would dramatically deplete the river, further endanger protected species, and negatively impact the recreational economy as well as the mainstream economy of the downstream states. At Save The Colorado, we advocate for NO MORE DAMS, and in 2015 and beyond we will be doing whatever we can to stop this war against the Colorado River that threatens so many of the amenities we all value.

Third, an interesting update on one of the issues we advocated for last year. Recall that the most endangered porpoise in the world, the vaquita, is struggling to survive in Screenshot (210)the Gulf of California where the Colorado River used to meet the sea? I wrote a blog post about the vaquita here back in 2014.

Just last week, the Mexican government announced that they would start using DRONES to keep an eye on fisherman in the Gulf so as to make sure the fisherman are not catching and killing the endangered vaquita. Check out the article in the New York Times here. Mexican officials call the eco-drones “permanent aerial patrols” to help ensure the protection of the vaquita. What do you think of this idea? We like it — it’s a good use of technology that may help save this imperiled species.

Finally, we encourage you to support our efforts to protect and restore the Colorado River by donating to Save the Colorado! Our online donation link is here. We will keep the news and action items flowing and try to do everything we can to keep the river flowing too.

Thank you for your support!!

Colorado River Update! 2015, Here We Come!

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

Save The Colorado is the only organization on the planet whose mission is to protect and restore the Colorado River and its tributaries from the source to the sea. We are delighted to provide you with updates, action items, and greatly appreciate your support! Please consider donating to Save The Colorado in your year-end giving plans — you can donate online by clicking here.

As the year winds down, several very lake-meadimportant issues are moving that will impact the future of the Colorado River — some are good news, others are bad.

First, on the good news front, water districts in the three states in the lower basin — Arizona, California, and Nevada — have reached a significant agreement to conserve and share a large amount of water which will better protect water supplies in the lower basin. The New York Times covers the story here. The deal will help stave off the ever-falling water levels in Lake Mead and is the biggest agreement, so far, to indicate that lower basin states are able to find a collaborative solution to how they manage the lower Colorado River.

Second, on the good news front, scientists who studied the “pulse flow” that occurred in the Colorado River Delta at the beginning of 2014 have determined that the test case provided an enormous benefit to the ecology of the region. Not only did the area “re-green” itself as cottonwoods and willows blossomed and dropped their seeds, but beavers, coyotes, and birds also returned to the area. A good National Geographic report and video here depicts the changes. What’s needed next in the Delta is an ongoing “base flow” of water to keep the river bed alive, and then another agreement with Mexico for the next five years of river management.

On the bad news front, a series of problems are moving forward in the upper basin states of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico that may doom the future of the Colorado River. Each state is going through a water planning process, the end result being that they are planning many more dams and diversions to get more water out of the Colorado River and its tributaries. As we’ve noted in past blogs, New Mexico is sor-capitol-small1moving forward with the Gila River Diversion, and Utah is proposing up to $15 billion in new dam projects. Further, the State of Wyoming is proposing “10 dams in 10 years,” and Colorado just unveiled its first water plan which calls for up to $20 billion in new water projects. I wrote an opinion piece in the High Country News laying out this potential river devastation — take a read here.

Of course Save The Colorado is fighting hard to address these threats. We’ve fought the Gila River Diversion and will continue to do so, we’ve provided financial support to the groups in Utah that are fighting dams, and we’ve taken to the streets to protest in Colorado when their water plan was unveiled. We showed up at the Colorado State Capitol with the “Save Our Rivers” banner and we got lots of news coverage including this TV report on Denver’s Channel 9 — take a look here.

Thank you again for all of the support in 2014! In 2015 we will continue this work — from Los Angeles to Mexicali to Las Vegas to Denver and beyond! — and we greatly appreciate your support to do that.  Please include Save The Colorado in your year-end giving plans by clicking here.

Stay tuned for more updates and action in 2015!

Gary Wockner
Executive Director, Save The Colorado

PRESS RELEASE: Did Colorado Launch A $20 BILLION Water War Against State’s Rivers?

For Immediate release
March 11, 2014
Save The Poudre and Save The Colorado
Contact: Gary Wockner

Did Colorado Launch A $20 Billion Water War Against State’s Rivers?

“The Colorado Water Plan is looking like a 20 billion dollar boondoggle to drain and destroy every river in the state,” said Gary Wockner, director of the river protection groups Save The Poudre and Save The Colorado.

 

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 sor-capitol-smallMaya 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.

–end–

PRESS RELEASE: Will Colorado’s Water Plan Destroy Our Rivers?

For Immediate Release
December 9, 2014
Save The Colorado and Save The Poudre
Gary Wockner, Executive Director

Will Colorado’s Water Plan Destroy Our Rivers?
Governor Hickenlooper needs to change course and focus on collaboration

Fort Collins, CO: After nearly two years of deliberations, the Colorado Water Conservation Board and its affiliates are delivering a “draft” of the Colorado Water Plan to Governor Hickenlooper on Wednesday, Dec. 10 at a ceremony at the Colorado State john-hickenlooperCapitol (1:30pm, West Foyer). Although the Draft Plan throws everything and the kitchen sink into the mix of options to address Colorado’s future water challenges, the Draft Plan unfortunately lays the groundwork for more river destruction across the state. Severe problems with the Draft Plan include:

 

  1. The Draft Plan failed to include and accept input from grassroots advocacy organizations. A long-standing river protection group, Save The Poudre, was not allowed to sit on the South Platte Roundtable, and the input from 18 conservation organizations was almost completely ignored. 
  2. The Draft Plan discusses and supports the idea of a lot more river destruction schemes such as dams, reservoirs, diversions, and pipelines. The Draft Plan also points to the South Platte Basin Implementation Plan which specifically endorses every proposed river destruction scheme on the table including the extremely controversial Northern Integrated Supply Project, Windy Gap Firming Project, and Moffat Project, and a “conceptual review” for another major trans-mountain diversion from the Colorado River system such as the Flaming Gorge Pipeline. 
  3. The Draft Plan proposes to enact sweeping new power and authority for the State of Colorado (through the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Interbasin Compact Committee, and Legislature) to “streamline” and potentially gut regulations, and to lobby for and fund new dam and river destruction projects. 
  4. The Draft Plan gives lip service to “healthy rivers” for wildlife and recreation, but fails to lay out goals or specific strategies to achieve it.

“We have serious concerns about the process and product of this Draft Colorado Water Plan,” said Gary Wockner, director of the river protection groups Save The Poudre and Save The Colorado. “Colorado’s rivers are already severely depleted and oversubscribed, and this Draft Plan would make them all worse. Governor Hickenlooper needs to change course and focus on collaborative solutions that do not pit stakeholders against each other and would not launch multi-decade court battles and water wars over dam and river destruction projects.”

Those collaborative solutions include significantly larger investments in water conservation and efficiency, water reuse and recycling, better growth management, and water-sharing agreements with farmers.

Gary Wockner will attend the press conference representing Save The Poudre and Save The Colorado.

–end–

Colorado River Update: Take action in Utah and New Mexico!

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

We have two action items this week for you to jump on!  First, recall two weeks ago when we discussed all of the dam threats in Utah?  You can review that blog post here. herbertUtah is proposing to spend up to $32 billion on new water projects, including a billion dollar boondoggle called the Lake Powell Pipeline. This proposal would pump water out of Lake Powell for Washington County in Southwest Utah. At the same time, the residents in the town of St. George and in Washington County already have one of the highest water uses in the state! They want even more water to drench lawns and support mega-sprawl in the desert. Our friends at Waterkeeper Alliance and Colorado River Connected have put together this online action for you to sign that sends an email to Utah Governor Gary Herbert telling him to stop this bad pipeline and focus on water conservation and efficiency instead. The Colorado River is already overtaxed — we can’t take anymore water out of it for suburban yards and sprawl. Please click through here to send an email to Governor Herbert!

Second, the situation around the Gila River in New Mexico has gotten worse. Two weeks ago the Governor’s Interstate Stream Commission APPROVED the Gila River martinezDiversion, which is a large boondoggle to further drain the Gila and pipe out the water for wasteful projects in New Mexico. Now, this decision is in the hands of New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez. We need to directly reach out to the Governor and ask her to stop this wasteful boondoggle. The Gila River Diversion could cost a billion dollars and impact the last wild river in New Mexico. At the same time, alternatives to the project that focus on water conservation and efficiency have been put forward that are faster and cheaper to implement.  You can learn more about the dreaded Gila River Diversion by visiting the Gila Conservation Coalition’s website here. Please call Governor Martinez’s office at: 505-476-2200 and ask her to stop this Diversion in its tracks. The Gila flows into the Colorado River — we need to Save The Gila!

And now for some GOOD news — it rained in California! Amid the worst drought in 1,200 years, California got a little relief this week as a major storm dropped water california-rainacross the state. Unfortunately it’s not enough rain to make a dent in the long-term drought, but it brought out umbrellas along the coast.

Thank you for taking action to protect the Colorado River and its tributaries!

Stay  tuned for more information and action opportunities!