Water education series wraps up Thursday in Steamboat Springs | SteamboatToday.com

Water education series wraps up Thursday in Steamboat Springs

— Some of the state's leading water experts are coming to Steamboat Springs to share their knowledge during a forum Thursday at Colorado Mountain College's Alpine Campus.

The event wraps up the three-part water education series put on this year by the Community Agriculture Alliance and the Yampa-White-Green River Basins Roundtable. The discussion Thursday will focus on the future and how to meet the legal and financial demands given mounting pressures to supply water to the populated areas east of the Continental Divide.

"We have had it good in the Yampa Valley for a long time when it comes to water, but this summer's water shortages and the ensuing administration we saw on stretches of the Yampa and Elk rivers is just the beginning," Routt County Extension agent Todd Hagenbuch wrote in an email Tuesday.

Community Agriculture Alliance Executive Director Marsha Daughenbaugh said she expects the event will be well-attended, especially by CMC students who are studying sustainability. The event is free for CMC and high school students with a school ID, $15 for the general public and $10 for Community Agriculture Alliance members. Registration starts at 5:30 p.m., and the program is from 6 to 9 p.m. People are encouraged to carpool or use alternative transportation because of limited parking at the college.

Daughenbaugh said the focus of the event is not so much to debate the issues, but to focus on financial or legal obstacles the Western Slope may face. That could include the distribution of agricultural water rights for industrial or recreational purposes.

Speakers at the event include Jennifer Gimbel, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board; Eric Kuhn, general manager of the Colorado River Water Conservation District; and Amy Beatie, executive director of the Colorado Water Trust.

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Gimbel has more than 20 years experience as a water attorney, working first for the Wyoming Attorney General and then for the Colorado Attorney General on water, natural resource and environmental issues.

Kuhn started working for the Colorado River Water Conservation District in 1981 as assistant secretary-engineer. His work has included technical management of conservation district activities such as Taylor Draw Dam and Reservoir, Wolford Mountain Reservoir, water marketing, interstate water issues and integrated project operations.

Beatie became executive director of the Colorado Water Trust in 2007 after six years practicing water litigation at two law firms on the Front Range.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com