Community Agriculture Alliance: Water, water everywhere — will there be enough?

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Water: the lifeblood of the Yampa Valley. Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting. Water — the gold of the 21st century.

We have all heard the slogans, and most of us acknowledge the value of the resource.

We travel the roadways along our rivers, we irrigate our meadows and lawns, we play in the lakes, and we ponder the power of the water. We expect it to be clean and abundant. We need it for agriculture, recreation, development, municipal and cultural uses. And we wonder if we will have enough to meet our current and future demands.

The Community Agriculture Alliance in partnership with the Yampa-White-Green River Basins Round Table and the Colorado Water Conservation Board are hosting a series of forums to help residents of Northwest Colorado better understand water issues that affect our future.

The first forum, “Water 101,” was March 12 in Steam­­boat. More than 100 people from across Northwest Colorado attended.

Now, there is another opportunity to be a part of a round-trip guided bus tour along the Yampa River from Steamboat to Craig. The tour is titled “See What’s Happening in the Yampa Valley” and is from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

A variety of topics will be presented by local water users and authorities. Presentations will be made at stops in Steam­boat Springs, Hayden and Craig, as well as on the buses, giving maximum opportunities for discussions and questions.

Speakers will be:

■ Recreation on the Yampa River: Kent Vertrees, Friends of the Yampa

■ Development issues: Jeff Temple, Marabou Ranch and Storm Mountain Ranch

■ Utility requirements: Ron Murphy, Xcel Energy

■ Municipal use: Russ Martin, Town of Hayden

■ Multiuse interaction: Ron Dellacroce, park manager, Yampa River State Park and Elkhead Reservoir

■ Volunteer efforts: Mike Brinks, Parrotheads of Moffat County

■ Water rights and exemptions: Andy Schaffner, Colo­rado Division of Water Resources

■ Legal perspective: speaker to be determined

Check-in for the tour will start at 2:30 p.m. at the Depot Art Center in Steamboat Springs. The first on-site presentation will be at the C-Hole with a discussion about the economical and environmental impact of recreation throughout the valley. The second stop will be in Hayden at one of the city’s municipal areas to gain knowledge of the workings of urban septic and water systems. The final stop will be at Lowdy-Simpson Park in Craig for supper and to experience the amenities of a well-planned park built along the Yampa River. As we travel, speakers will address water issues pertinent to their fields of interest.

The cost for the tour, which includes a light supper, is $15. College and high school students can attend for $5. Continuing education credits have been approved for Realtors. Sponsorship opportunities are available for individuals and businesses.

Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, call the Community Agriculture Alliance at 879-4370.

Marsha Daughenbaugh is the executive director of the Community Agriculture Alliance.

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