First, we change the water laws | AspenTimes.com

First, we change the water laws

Water. I'm no lawyer, but let's play the "what if" game.

Imagine a year with no water and a dam; we release water from the dam which we can legally consume. We are left with a dry riverbed. Imagine a year with no water and no dam; we have a right but no water. We are left with a dry riverbed.

What remains the same? Everything dies.

The threats of Front Range diversion are not paper tigers; read the 2015 Colorado Water Plan. Quoting Club 20, "In this February 3 letter to Governor Hickenlooper, seven West Slope Republican legislators wrote, 'To protect the west slope and the state's economy, it is imperative that each basin exhaust its available water supply before planning diversions from another area of the state. … An abundance of additional west slope water available to the Front Range is an illusion.'"

Please note the word "exhaust." We've created a world where we promote mutually assured desertification.

The City Council has told the state they want to keep the water storage right and at the same time said, "Trust us, we won't build a dam." This mixed message is a hole wide enough to drill a diversion through. If you think no one will challenge this then I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

The tough political reality is that the people living in the Colorado River ecosystem have no political power. It is divided by state borders, federal lands, tribal lands and by a border with Mexico. The sane solution is to create a coalition of the willing. In this fight for water Native Americans, Mexicans, Republicans, Democrats and independents must stay united and fight right up to the hilt against the Front Range and every bluegrass water-sucking municipality which wants to drain the rivers dry. Make your candidate take that pledge — a pledge to restore water sheds, riparian zones and fight to keep every drop of Colorado River water in the river.

Start by doing as India and New Zealand have done and declare Castle, Maroon and the Roaring Fork "persons" with all the legal rights a person has. The law is an ass. Change the law.

Ziska Childs

Aspen