Flooded by anti-dam rhetoric

It’s election time in Aspen town, and our local papers are filled with the pros and cons of local issues of the day. All well and good if we stick to the facts and avoid hyperbole in regard to the proposed dams on Maroon and Castle creeks. Altered photos on election mailings with large concrete structures only serve to influence the voter into misconceptions of the real facts.

Colorado water law is complicated and predicated on “first in use, first in right” and “use it or lose it,” but it’s not as simple as it seems! And it is a boon to water attorneys seeking litigation. But prudence dictates the city maintain its water rights.

Aspen voters, don’t be taken in by letters filled with misinformation. Consider the source! Ward Hauenstein and Bert Myrin have opposed the city’s efforts to restore its historic, clean, hydroelectric on Castle Creek.

Back in the ’50s, Katie Lee sang “Don’t dam the nation, damn the Bureau of Reclamation!,” when they proposed a dam at North Star. As a result, the Bureau of Reclamation built Ruedi, and Aspen now has a share in a 5-mega-watt turbine that generates clean hydro-power. But it’s sad we cannot have clean power generated right here in Aspen with no adverse effect on stream health. So today we should sing: “Don’t dam the Bells, just ring the Bells!” and let the beavers build dams their way and save the new dams for another day!

When you go to vote, remember this: Your drinking water comes from small diversion dams on local creeks secured by water rights dating back to the 1890s. Your City Council has an obligation to protect them, and clean hydroelectric will secure them.

Jim Markalunas