From my perspective, water is everything in the San Luis Valley, and agriculture is everything else.
In fact, most of the Rio Grande Basin’s economy is based on business ventures that heavily rely on both of these factors. Water is vital for everything from raising cattle, to rafting and fishing.
Quite simply, water is a cornerstone of the way of life that we know and love. It also is reasonably safe to say that 2019 has been a challenging year for the Basin. The export proposal from Renewable Water Resources seeks to send water from the Valley to an unidentified user along the Front Range to address what appears to be a looming water security issue.
It makes zero sense to take away the lifeblood of one community in an attempt to fix a problem in another part of the state.
Furthermore, the proprietors of this proposal are claiming that they will establish a community fund worth millions for the Rio Grande Basin.
Money cannot replace what this Valley would lose if this idea were to become a reality. We are not just talking about the value of a precious liquid commodity; we are talking about people’s livelihoods.
I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment that if the water leaves, it is never coming back. It seems that the RWR proposal ultimately does not offer much of a solution for the people of the San Luis Valley.
There are other methods such as the Colorado Water Plan that are in place for addressing the state’s water challenges. The solution does not have to involve drastically changing landscapes and potentially uprooting family businesses.
The RWR situation is just one example of the uphill battle that those who are in the rural sector face.
As a Valley native and someone who comes from a ranching background, I find the growing pressure on rural Colorado to be somewhat troubling.
However, the good news is that this place has a long history of coming together to confront issues that threaten to take what we have. There is also a great deal of local opposition to this current effort. I have confidence that this issue will be one that will pass in time.