Letters to the editor
Angels in Vail
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I am looking for the angels who looked after me on Bridge Street in front of the Rucksack about 9:15 (on a recent) Saturday morning.
There were two guys. I remember one said he was from Sacramento California, but that’s all I can remember.
I had a seizure and they called 911 and waited with me until the ambulance came. I remember the guy from Sacramento had a wonderful smile and was so calm and reassuring.
I would love to locate them and give them my personal thanks if they are still in the Vail area and read this letter. Maybe they were angels.
Not running out
News flash to Chicken Little: The sky is not falling, nor are we in the Eagle River Valley “running out” of water, either!
RE: Vail Daily article on A3 Monday, Jan. 19: The article, while informative, is somewhat incomplete. While the upper basin may have gotten shortchanged in the compact’s allocation, that is history and will not change.
The real world situation is that the productive use of water in the lower basin far exceeds the economic use of water in the upper basin.
The land is more fertile there and the mass of population is there. That is where the “highest and best” use for the Colorado River Basin water is.
Our vegetables would not be so inexpensive and available year-round were it not for the huge farms in the Coachella and Imperial valleys of California. We also enjoy cheap electricity from the hydro plants on the Colorado.
A characteristic of the Colorado River Basin is that most of the water used is exported out of the basin – i.e., water to Denver, Salt lake City, Colorado Springs, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Los Angles, and Phoenix. Northeast Colorado is also irrigated by the Colorado River through the Colorado-Big Thompson Project.
Colorado, both east and west, will never be short of domestic water.
Construction of more storage dams is not the economic solution for Colorado. As smaller and smaller streams or rivers, i.e. the Eagle, are considered, it takes a larger storage reservoir to yield smaller and smaller amounts of water.
As the dam’s height goes up, so does the cost and with less yield, then the economic cost begins to soar. Not a good investment.
Coloradoans are myopic in their parochial outlook.
Trying to eke out a living with expensive water on marginally productive land on the Western Slope does not make good economic sense to me. On the other hand, southern California would pay large sums of money for more water. We have the water. They have the need and the money.
Sell it. The state could use these funds for many more beneficial purposes with our state.
For instance, someday cities will have to buy up senior water rights on the Platte, Colorado, Cache la Poudre, Fountain Creek, Arkansas, and others for domestic consumption. The state could finance these. Our state parks can always use expansion and improvement. Maybe we would even get a tax reduction. Or maybe that bullet train from Denver to Vail.
Let me tell you who I am. I am a civil engineer, retired from the Bureau of Reclamation where I was a water resource engineer for 27 years.
In the mid-1970s I was a member of the interagency group that prepared the Western U.S. Water Plan. My area, along with another water resources engineer, was the Colorado River Basin.
We studied the compact and the river operation for a 30-year period. Conclusion: There is no more or less water in the CRB than there ever was. We are not running out! We are only using more now. We will never be short of water for human consumption, as this is the doctrine of “highest and best use” embodied in all of the state constitutions of the West.
Now, allow me to briefly tell you about the mission of the Bureau of Reclamation. Originally established in the 1890s as a service under the Geological Survey, in 1902 it became a bureau within the Department of Interior. Its mission in the 17 Western states was to provide water engineering services to the farmers struggling to settle the arid West.
Reclamation projects are paid for by the beneficiaries of the projects (a unique government operation) through the Reclamation Fund, which is also funded by mineral extraction royalties.
At its prime it was the primer water resource development agency in the world. The first dams of the TVA were designed by the bureau, as that taught that agency how to do it. Same for the Snowy Mt. scheme in Australia, irrigation in Afghanistan and Turkey, among other countries such as Brazil, Thailand, Ethiopia, and Indonesia.
The bureau worked itself out of a job in the western U.S. due to the diminishing feasibility of water projects (the best were already built) and the national decision to prefer environmental restrictions rather than the abundant regional benefits of multiple-purpose water projects.
I am of course willing to discuss this topic at anytime: earl@glenwright.
Time to tax
Don Rogers, just finished reading your Quick Takes, “Tax man cometh,” containing editorially unsupportive comments like, “Anyone can use tax increases to help make the books work” and your concluding muse, “The real question, though, is how much or even whether the voters will go for these.”
Not very constructive, eh? Instead of being the critic why not propose solutions or at least support those that make sense.
In Vail we have residential property taxes that are among the lowest in Colorado. Ask any friend living in a fine suburb of almost any city what their taxes are and you will be amazed that ours are often less than half that of the “real world.” Our recreation taxes are also ridiculously low.
The present Vail Recreation District and Vail Town Council have cut expenses over the past two years and no longer have the funds to make long needed improvements. Taxing the guest is clearly not the answer.
We need to be reinvesting in our community to make it as great as it can be. The proposed Dobson debt relief measure going on the May ballot will cost the owner of a $500,000 home about $16 more per year. Responsibly raising taxes for specific projects to update our wonderful town is the best investment for our own future.
I can’t understand how any voter who wants Vail to have a bright future can not see the path we must take. We have long enjoyed taxes that are too low, we have not properly reinvested and maintained our existing facilities and now have a decaying infrastructure.
Tax rates that support the first-class maintenance, revitalization, improvement and future of Vail are the only choice and will best serve us in the long run.
If you have a better idea then let us know. Stay constructive!