Quick and Dirty
San Juan watershed group hosts meeting
Missy Votel - 01/03/2019
With several feet of new snow in the San Juans, fears of another dry summer may be dissipating. Nevertheless, a newly formed group is focusing on the long-term projection of a warmer, drier future and finding ways to manage the area’s dwindling water supplies. Made up of representatives from various river-users, including agriculture, recreation, municipal, industrial and environmental groups, the Upper San Juan Watershed Enhancement Partnership will explain its work and objectives at a public meeting 6-8 p.m., Thurs., Jan. 10, at the CSU Extension Office in Pagosa Springs, 344 U.S. Highway 84.
Formed in 2018, the goal of the partnership is to spearhead cooperative ways to ensure the needs of water users are being met while improving the use of water resources. Examples of such projects include ditch lining, improving diversion structures and cooperative water management.
The projects will be funded by the Colorado Water Conservation Board as part of the Colorado Water Plan and apply to the San Juan, Piedra, Navajo and Chama rivers and their tributaries.
“This effort would take advantage of this funding for the benefit of our community,” Aaron Kimple, Mountain Studies Institute’s San Juan Headwaters’ Program director, wrote. “The relevance of water to all aspects of our community cannot be understated … The goal of this effort is to think collectively about opportunities that can help secure the future of water for all uses, while maintaining a healthy ecology and respecting water rights.”
The group would ultimately like to address the entirety of the San Juan River Basin, through a phased series of locally focused meetings guided by local water users.
“This conversation is designed to include all interests,” wrote Kimple. “Drought and growing pressure from increased water demands and permanent reductions in overall water supply are increasing demand on our water resources. Identifying opportunities to secure the viability of our water resources will help our community to remain viable for future generations.”
In an effort to identify water resource issues, opportunities and potential projects, area residents can fill out a survey online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/WP2J6YG. Surveys can also be printed out, filled in and sent to Aaron Kimple c/o Mountain Studies, 679 E. 2nd Ave., Durango, CO 81301.