Vail Daily letter: Water plan falls short
The anemic Colorado Water Plan outlined in your recent Vail Daily article fails to address the fundamental problem with the state’s water resource, namely the inefficient use of water for agriculture. They control 85 percent of the water and use it largely for flood irrigation. If urban centers financed farmers to upgrade water use to sprinkler systems or drip irrigation and were then awarded the water savings, there would be no shortage.
Unfortunately Colorado’s water law and legal community stands in the way of changing our archaic water rights system. As a result, agriculture remains the “sacred cow” while our growing cities nibble around the edges of conservation, storage and (God help us) trans-mountain diversions.
In the late ’70s a similar water round-table was convened by then-Gov. Lamm. The results were almost identical: “Don’t touch agriculture and build more water storage.” Fortunately, the proposed monster Two Forks reservoir was vetoed by the EPA for environmental reasons.
We only have to look to Israel as an example of intelligent water management. They live in a desert, but don’t have a water problem because they use water efficiently in all aspects of life, including agriculture. It’s interesting to note that Gov. Brown of California signed a cooperative agreement with Israel to help with solutions to their severe drought situation. Perhaps Colorado should do the same to get some objective third party advice.