'The suburbs have some bad choices'

 

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.

Eric Kuhn is head of the Colorado River Water Conservation District, in charge of protecting western Colorado's water interests in the Colorado River Basin.

Eric Kuhn: "I think Reilly did Denver a favor. They can focus on their needs. They have a well-thought-out approach for themselves and their nearby suburbs.

"The outer suburbs are the new person on the block. Agriculture took all the water available on the Platte. The easy-to-build transmountain diversions - those one tunnel away from the Front Range - were built years ago. They're held by Colorado Springs, Denver, Aurora, farmers in the northeast corridor.

"The suburbs have some bad choices. Buying up ag lands is first. But that's difficult politically. Using groundwater, but there are limits there. And third, to propose these Union Park-type schemes (taking water from the Gunnison River Basin through the Rockies) that are several mountain passes away. Then there's the whole Endangered Species Act that didn't exist when the early diversions were built."