GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — The future of ag on the Western Slope and access to water are on tap to be hot button items at this year’s State of the River in Grand Junction.
Gary Wockner, with Save the Colorado, says, “the big decision that’s going to happen right now is what’s going on with Lake Powell downstream in Arizona. The lake is at historic lows, hydropower might quit working sometime this summer because the lake keeps falling to historic low levels.”
The Colorado River District will decide the fate of where Colorado’s water flows. It may be the biggest decision in Colorado water history.
Wockner also says, “leave water on the farms and ranches or whether they want to actually dry up temporarily or permanently up to a hundreds of thousands of acres of farms and ranches to send the water down to Lake Powell and try to save it.”
Janie Van Winkle, a local rancher, and farmer says the decision shouldn’t just revolve around water and power, but also food, “we have something to eat, we have power, but what about food. What about food security. I think that’s a critical part of this conversation.”
Wockner says given the current conditions of Lake Powell, the only option left is, “really the only thing they can do is transfer water away from farms on the West Slope and try to save that lake.”
He says our state is a key player because fifty percent of the water flowing into those reservoirs come from Colorado, “the future of western Colorado. What it’s going to be. Whether the farm and ranches are going to be dried up to try to generate hydroelectric power or whether it’s going to continue to be an active agricultural area.”
Wockner says investors and hedge funds are even buying up the farm and ranch lands for water rights, something Van Winkle couldn’t imagine, “I’ve worked my whole life on this land as have four previous generations, but how do I decide that that’s a tough question and I don’t have a good answer for that.”
All water users on the Western Slope should mark their calendars for April 12th because the future of western Colorado water and agriculture may depend on it.
Source: Grand Junction Local News | The Colorado River District will decide the fate of where Colorado’s water flows