Letter: Candidate Suppes is wrong about water
Republican Senate candidate Don Suppes, of Delta, complained on Aug. 5 in the Snowmass Sun that Denver and the other Front Range water providers supported 2014 Senate Bill 23 because it would have helped them take water from the Western Slope to the Front Range (“Don Suppes: Why I’m running for CO senate,” Commentary). He said that it is “clear that our current politicians intend for us to lose our water rights.”
I testified in favor of the bill before both the Senate and House Agricultural Committees, and followed its progress closely. It simply provided that if ranchers adopted efficient irrigation systems so they could divert less water from the river to their fields, they could donate the diversion savings to the river as environmentally enhancing in-stream flows. It was completely voluntary, and could be reversed at any time.
Suppes has his facts reversed about Senate Bill 23. Denver Water, Aurora and other Front Range water providers opposed Senate Bill 23, since it would have kept water on the Western Slope. Nearly every Republican in the House and Senate opposed it, while nearly every Democrat supported it. When Senate Bill 23 passed, the Front Range water utilities let Governor Hickenlooper know they didn’t like the bill, which I believe is why he vetoed it. People who opposed SB 23 believe it would restrict their ability to sell water rights to the highest bidder, which usually means the biggest cities on the Front Range.
Suppes is running for the state Senate seat in District 5 that Gail Schwartz has held for eight years. We should ask why he has lined up with the Front Range water providers in opposing Senate Bill 23. Senate Bill 23 was good for the Western Slope.
Kerry Donovan is the Democrat candidate for Senate District 5, and she supports SB 23. She’s a Vail Town Council member and runs her family’s ranch near Edwards. If you support leaving more water in rivers to enhance them, support Kerry Donovan.