Guest opinion: Vote yes on 7A to fund Western Slope water | VailDaily.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Guest opinion: Vote yes on 7A to fund Western Slope water

Bill Simmons and George Gregory
Valley Voices

What is water security worth to you? As citizens of Eagle County, we all know that healthy flowing streams are connected to every part of our quality of life. Would you spend an extra $7 per year to help ensure continued funding for vital work being done to protect the quality and quantity of water in Western Colorado?

The Colorado River Water Conservation District (Colorado River District) will ask voters this November for approval of a property-tax increase to sustain its work protecting Western Colorado water. Ballot Question 7A seeks authorization of a mill levy increase within the Colorado River District’s 15-county region; the median residential property tax increase for the region would be $7.03 per year. As the board chairs of the two local governments charged with providing a safe and reliable supply of water to most of eastern Eagle County, and as private citizens, we will be voting “yes” on 7A — and we hope you will too.

The Eagle River Water & Sanitation District and the Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority have worked closely with the Colorado River District on water matters for many years. They are a critical resource and partner. For more than 80 years, the Colorado River District has succeeded in their work to keep water on the Western Slope. Healthy streams are not only our water supply for residential and business uses; they are essential for rafting, fishing, SUPing, kayaking, and other activities that drive our local economy. Anyone who enjoys summer or winter water-related recreational activities has benefited from the Colorado River District’s work.

Our watersheds are under increasing external demand while facing decreasing streamflows from long-term drought and climate change. As the population dependent on the Colorado River grows, competition for a diminishing resource grows with it. The Colorado River District effectively navigates these complex issues as an advocate and leader throughout the Colorado River Basin. Supporting this ballot question aligns with our entities’ mission to provide efficient, effective, and reliable water and wastewater utility services in a manner that respects the natural environment.

The mill levy increase is projected to raise $4.9 million in additional annual tax revenue, 86% of which the Colorado River District would dedicate to partnership projects in one or more of these five categories: productive agriculture, infrastructure, healthy rivers, watershed health and water quality, and conservation and efficiency. The rest would address budgetary reductions caused by the cumulative impact of the Gallagher and Taxpayer Bill of Rights amendments.

Our boards unanimously adopted a resolution in support of Ballot Question 7A because we believe the revenues it would raise are critical to the Colorado River District being able to continue to effectively advocate for Western Slope water. We urge our constituents to join us in voting “yes” on 7A. We ask you again: What is water security worth to you? This is a sound investment that will affect Western Colorado and our way of life for generations.

Bill Simmons and George Gregory are the board chairs of Eagle River Water & Sanitation District and Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority. Eagle River Water & Sanitation District provides efficient, effective, and reliable water and wastewater utility services in a manner that respects the natural environment. ERWSD’s water service area is Vail and Wolcott, while the sewer service area is Vail to Wolcott. ERWSD also operates and maintains, by contract, the Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority public water system, which provides water service to Arrowhead, Avon, Bachelor Gulch, Beaver Creek, Berry Creek, Cordillera, EagleVail, and Edwards.


Support Local Journalism


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User