Front Range water grab hurts Eagle County |

Front Range water grab hurts Eagle County

Two Front Range cities are pursuing plans to develop new reservoirs in the Eagle River basin upstream of Minturn. If completed, the water from these Eagle County reservoirs would again be taken from the west side of the Continental Divide and sent to the Front Range.

The proposed project is a bad deal for Eagle County and Colorado due to its proposed removal of 497 acres of the Holy Cross Wilderness. The Holy Cross Wilderness is a cornerstone of the local landscape and economy and should not be de-designated. Rescinding public land protections for Front Range interests sets a bad precedent for Eagle County and other downstream communities, especially in light of continued population growth in the state.

All proposed versions of the project will destroy important wetlands, or fens, along Homestead Creek that took thousands of years to develop. There are no adequate methods to relocate these valuable environmental features. The destruction of these wetlands is the same issue that led Eagle County to deny Colorado Springs and Aurora Water’s controversial Homestake II reservoir in 1987. The fens are still as crucial as ever 30 years later, especially in the face of climate change.

Instead of sacrificing our local wilderness to fuel Front Range growth, we should instead focus on common-sense solutions that benefit all Colorado communities. Doubling down on water conservation and efficiency, and pursuing less controversial water storage projects is the best place to start.

Joy Harrison