Water is a huge issue in all of the western states. If Colorado could keep all of the water that flowed down the Platte, Arkansas, and Colorado Rivers, we would. Denver and the suburbs would be the driving force in all of it. Those of us with residential property and “Household use only wells” know this very well. We can’t wash our cars, have a garden, or even water horses. Up until 2009 we couldn’t even collect rain water off our roof. It’s Denver water. Now we are able to collect up to 110 gallons of water that may then be used to water gardens, livestock, or lawns.
My college major was Environmental Biology, with a minor in Chemistry. One area of study that interested me was water rights and state water allocations. The way I see it, the biggest problem with water allocation is that the water in the rivers that originate in Colorado is divided between the states through which they flow. That was decided well over 100 years ago. The percentage of river water that each state had claim to was often times based on population, and population has changed greatly in the past 100 years. This original allocation was also done during a period of wet years, so each state was promised more than what is currently available. Fast forward to today, and all of the states live with less, and no one is happy about it.
As mentioned above, Chemistry was one of my areas of study – specifically the use of chemistry to improve water quality. In fact, for my senior thesis, I studied the heavy metals, specifically mercury, that were leaching into the Alamosa River. The metals originated from the Summitville Mine, which was a Super Fund site. My thesis was on the use of bacteria to consume the toxic mercury and convert it into nontoxic mercury, also known as bioremediation.
Park County’s water quality and quantity are some of the highest in Colorado and the nation. We are home to the headwaters of the South Fork of the South Platte River, and the southern part of Park County water flows into the Arkansas River.
There are three different entities with which I need to engage with in the future. The first is the Land and Water trust fund. This Fund was set up in 1998 to fight a water grab by Aurora for Park County’s water. The second is the South Platte Basin Roundtable. This is a group of county and other government agencies who have joined forces to protect the South Platte River. The last entity would be the Arkansas Basin Roundtable. The entire south end of park County is in the Arkansas Basin and I want a say in regards to policy.
I am adamant about protecting Park County’s water and plan to work intelligently and diligently to do so.