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First Word

Even though the monsoons have finally come to Eagle County, no one seems convinced we’re out of the drought woods yet.And even though there are three other columns in this paper at least tangentially dealing with the topic (pages 10, 14 and 26), I feel like beating a dead water buffalo.Or, in this case, 800-pound gorilla.Anyway, I was up at Adventure Ridge the other day, waiting in line at the Dino Dig, when I noticed an ordinary garden hose leading to a patch of rather malnourished-looking grass. It was noon, and the hot sun was at its apex.The hose was connected to a leaky sprinkler that was spewing an irregular pattern of water, not all of which was hitting the pathetic patch of grass. A lot of it was watering a concrete sidewalk, and some of it was serving only to make a mud hole muddier.It occurred to me that any kind of lawn at 11,000 feet, where nothing is supposed to grow but lichen, is an asinine waste of water (even if it’s gray water) in the midst of an epic drought.Vail Resorts, which operates Adventure Ridge, is one of the biggest water users and the largest employer in Eagle County. The ski company should set a better example for all of us, especially if they want sympathy during snowmaking season. Just because you own the water rights doesn’t make it right to use water foolishly.The same goes for area golf courses, two of which I’ll single out by name. Eagle Springs in Wolcott has been conspicuously watering in the middle of the day, and the Sonnenalp periodically waters the streets of Singletree.There may be other unwise water users out there in the golf community, but those are the only two I’ve witnessed first-hand.A caller recently suggested a hotline be set up to report such abuses, and I think that’s a great idea, one that could be used for the numerous residential violators as well.But it’s our business community that needs to be held to the highest standard, and made to pay the price if they shrink from that responsibility.


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