Community Agriculture Alliance: Water, water everywhere |

Community Agriculture Alliance: Water, water everywhere

Marsha Daughenbaugh/For the Steamboat Today

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.

Then we hear terms such as augmentation, compact requirements, appropriations and water rights, and our eyes start to water and our brains start to gel. The legalities of the water that runs through Northwest Colorado are complex, and how will we ever understand them?

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 citizens of Northwest Colorado better understand water issues that affect our future.

The first forum is titled "Water 101" and will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. March 12 in Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs. The format is designed to help familiarize us with water issues.

Tom Gray, chairman of the Yampa-White-Green Round Table will clarify the purpose and history of the Round Table.

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Don Ament, former Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture, will explain definitions and terms most often used in water discussions and give details regarding Colorado's compact obligations to other states.

Nicole Seltzer, executive director of the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, will present the winter 2010 edition of Headwaters Magazine, titled No Longer a Valley Too Far, and dedicated entirely to Northwest Colorado and our water users.

Mike Sullivan, deputy director of the Colorado Department of Water Resources, will discuss Colorado's water management water plans, augmentation, abandonment and the impacts of local hydrology and weather conditions on our abilities to fulfill our obligations.

Lois Witte, senior counsel with the United States Forest Service, will explain USFS regulations and protection strategies that safeguard quantity and quality as water meanders through federally owned property. She also will address the potential impacts that the bark beetle infestation could have.

The second forum will be a tour on July 21 from Steamboat Springs to Craig for onsite visits to view the water uses in the Yampa Valley. The third forum will be Sept. 24 in Craig to discuss regional and state issues and projects. The final forum will be Nov. 5 in Hayden to learn about the Round Table studies and local projects.

If you pre-register and pre-pay, the cost is $15 per person or $50 for all four forums. If you register at the door, the cost is $20 per forum. College and high school students can attend for $5 per forum.

Sponsorship opportunities still are available for individuals and businesses.

To obtain more information or to register, call the Community Agriculture Alliance Office at 879-4370.

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