Two years of drought have given residents of Northwest Colorado a new appreciation for the normally abundant water supply here. They'll have a chance to gain an understanding of the fundamentals of water management in this region June 5, during the Yampa River Basin Water Forum. The event is scheduled to run all day at Olympian Hall at Howelsen Hill Lodge in Steamboat Springs.
State Sen. Jack Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs, will convene the gathering.
The opening speakers, attorneys Mike Holloran and Tom Sharp, will cover the fundamentals of water law and management.
"The goals of the forum are to provide the citizens of the Yampa Valley with a clear understanding of how the valley's water supply is managed and used," organizer Jean Petersen said. "The purpose of the opening sessions is to build 'water literacy' by clarifying and giving context to terms that have been heard frequently in the past year, such as 'call on the river' and 'in-stream flow.'"
Petersen is executive director of the Community Agriculture Alliance. Her agency is sponsoring the forum in cooperation with the Colorado River Water Conservation District and The Nature Conservancy.
Another session will give attendees a clearer understanding of how the Yampa River Basin fits into the broader picture of water in the West, Petersen said.
Dan Birch of the Colorado River Water Conservation District will contrast the Yampa Basin to others in the state and region before offering a glimpse of what the future may hold.
At 11:15 a.m., Tim Iseman, director of water protection with The Nature Conservancy's Boulder office, will talk about "ecologically sustainable water management" and issues relevant to balancing human water needs and the maintenance of healthy river functions.
After lunch, Petersen said, Scott Ford of Colorado Mountain College will lead a panel discussion of emerging issues on water use in the region.
The schedule allows 90 minutes for those in attendance to talk informally among themselves and collect printed materials from organizations concerned with water in the basin.
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