Posted by Bob Simmons
Last week, Roy Otto, Greeley City Manager and Water Board Member spoke to FCRC about Northern Colorado Water Issues.  He reminded us how frequently we interact with water, noting  that water is NOCO’s most important resource and something we must keep in  our region; but also learn to manage collaboratively.
Historically, we had water wars (eg, Ft Collins vs Greeley) which led to our current water law.  The future of water in our region demands collaboration instead.  Current management involves multiple players not always working together-multiple municipal providers, agriculture ditch companies, conservation districts, multiple Poudre River diversions and multiple planned reservoirs( currently in the permitting phase).  Thus far, management and administration of all these players has been like “herding cats”
The mandate for future success is collaboration instead of the “mine, mine” mindset, (competition) and water wars.  The “buy and dry” approach is not acceptable because it removes this essential resource (water) for all time.  An example of past cooperation is the Colorado-Big Thompson Project but the western slope is not likely to share more of it’s water with the fast growing Front Range.
Future pathways to collaboration may (must?) involve shared infrastructure, common legislative and advocacy efforts, education of civilians, regional planning (and authority) as well as good partnerships with Agriculture providing alternatives to “buy and dry”.
Excellent questions from Rotarians added to the discussion.