Future of the Poudre

Feb 032011
Authors: Vashti Batjargal

At a public forum Thursday evening Tom Moore stressed that Fort Collins brewing prowess stems from the quality water that flows from the Poudre River.

Moore, a former president of the Water Supply and Storage Board, farmer and local business owner, was one of about 300 people who participated in the The Poudre Runs Through It: Northern Colorado’s Water Future discussion to dialogue about the future of Northern Colorado’s natural water resources.

The public forum served as a place for residents to discuss the value the Poudre River holds and how water should be allocated to each of the region’s competing needs.

“We have a fixed resource and it’s all about trade-off,” said Reagan Waskom, director of the Colorado Water Institute. “In everything we choose, we also choose not.”

Some forum participants expressed concern about preserving the 126-mile river for fishing, agriculture, recreation and urban growth.

George Reed, owner of 62 acres of land 10 miles north of Fort Collins, said he’d like a reservoir.

“We could learn a lesson from the squirrels: You have to put some water away,” Reed said. “I’ve never seen a reservoir I didn’t like.”

Reed said a reservoir would best serve agriculture in the region and said he savors a good tomato during a time when grocery store tomatoes are at their worst.

Reed currently gardens a variety of vegetables and raises cattle on his 62 acres of land. He holds shares of water but needs to supplement his current shares by renting from Fort Collins and the Fort Collins-Loveland Water District.

“If Fort Collins decided to stop renting, it would dry up farms in Larimer County,” Reed said.

The forum was designed to get community input for decisions on water distribution and conservation for growth and agricultural needs.

CSU associate professor of history Mark Fiege said the decisions the community will ultimately make concerning water distribution will have an effect on future generations.

“It will impose a burden and responsibility that we cannot fully predict,” he said.

Upcoming meetings of The Poudre Runs Through It series will be held on Feb. 24, Mar. 10 and Mar. 24 at the Larimer County Courthouse and will consist of various educational sessions surrounding water issues.

There will be two opportunities for public dialogue after that. The first will be held at Timberline Church’s East Auditorium on April 11 at 6 to 8:30 p.m. The last session will be held on April 16 at The Drake Center’s West Ballroom from 2:30 – 5 p.m.

Staff writer Vashti Batjargal can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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