Letter: Mayor stands by water-rights decision
I’m proud to say the city of Aspen took steps to protect the community’s water rights Monday by filing an application with the state’s water court to maintain the conditional water rights we’ve held on Castle and Maroon creeks since 1965. This right essentially allows water storage in case our rivers fail to produce adequate drinking water for our population in the future.
Despite the notion that the city is poised to dam Maroon Valley, in reality this filing is an action demanded by state law to protect our rights to your drinking water. Without knowing more about viable alternatives for water storage, it simply would not be prudent water management on our part to give up these water rights. After all, climate and other changes in this region are uncertain and what our needs will look like in 2066 is not something we are poised to gamble away by letting this storage right go.
While today it seems unlikely that the Front Range would take even more of our water or that interests as far away as California would look to Aspen to meet ever growing demand, we’re not going to bet your drinking water that it won’t happen.
Council’s resolution regarding this filing also directs city staff to undertake a collaborative effort to work with the community and stakeholders to find other water storage solutions. That means two things: Our water rights are protected for another six years, and we can explore the most innovative water management strategies available.
This is about our future security. If you were charged with doing all you could do to secure your grandchildren’s drinking water from your own backyard, would you give up your rights on that water? City Council wasn’t willing to risk your grandchildren’s future. That’s why we voted unanimously to maintain our water rights.
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