Monthly Archives: August 2014

Water, water, everywhere?

August 11, 2014

By Bob Cox

Some opinions, comments and links relating to what is happening in this great nation and, in particular, in Western Colorado.


Water, water, everywhere,

And all the boards did shrink;

Water, water, everywhere,

Nor a drop to drink.


When Samuel Taylor Coleridge penned those words in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, he very likely had absolutely no idea that the mountains of Colorado even existed, but the story incorporated in the poem shows how easily blame can be attached to something, or someone, for just about any problem.

This year Colorado experienced fairly good moisture content in the high country. As a result, our lakes, ponds and reservoirs are full or close to full and things look good, but we have to be careful about being too excited.

Colorado representatives Don Coram and Jerry Sonnenberg, both members of the Colorado House Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resources Committee, recently released a statement that should be read by every Colorado Citizen. They point out that, when the Lower Basin states get thirsty, they look west and they see Colorado, where it appears that we have “water, water, everywhere” and they have “nor a drop to drink.” Their reaction is to demand more water from Colorado.

The Colorado agricultural community is vital to the economy of this state and to the citizens that live here. We must pay attention to any proposals that limit the amount of agricultural activities simply so we can provide water to Las Vegas and beyond. Coram and Sonnenberg point out accurately that the farmers and ranchers are the first to recognize the need to conserve. They understand that improper stewardship of land and water will mean their demise. Those looking form more water need to look to these people for advice rather than just more water. Legislation that requires a farmer to plant less or to plant a crop that has no market defeats the purpose.

Having grown up among miners (whom I also respect by the way), I was ignorant of farming practices until I married the daughter of a farmer. I, like so many who just assume things, assumed that farmers could plant as much as they wanted, anytime they wanted. The ideas of crop rotation and fallowing were foreign to me until they were explained. I worked for a sheriff who had a long career in the Colorado Soil Conservation Service. He, too, lent his expertise to my education. I gained a true respect for the efforts of the Colorado farmers and ranchers.

Making the farmers and ranchers pawns in water discussions is wrong and we need to support Rep. Coram and Rep. Sonnenberg in their efforts to impress upon the basin states that the water in Colorado is finite and critical to our economy, and especially to our families.

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© Robert R. Cox 2014