ROCK SPRINGS– Don Hartley of Communities Protecting the Green River Committee updated the Rock Springs City Council at last night’s meeting on the group’s efforts, as well as a proposed pipeline that would transfer water from the Green River to the Front Range of Colorado.
The pipeline, which was first proposed by Aaron Million nine years ago, proposed to take water from the Green River to the Front Range of Colorado. The initial proposal aimed to take the water from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir.
The Colorado-Wyoming Coalition was formed in response to this proposal to look at the feasibility of the project. The coalition represents roughly 5,000 water consumers from the Front Range of Colorado and eastern Wyoming.
Though Million’s proposal was denied, and has been denied several times since then, Million is back with another idea.
Instead of taking water from the Flaming Gorge, Million is now proposing taking water from the Browns Park area on the Utah and Colorado border.
Mayor Carl Demshar expressed his concern for the project, saying that he “feels uneasy” about the eastern part of the state wanting to take one of Wyoming’s resources out of the state.
“It makes me feel uneasy… that we have the eastern part of our state buying into a coalition that would help them move water from our state. I’ve never felt good about that,” Demshar said.
Hartley responded to Demshar’s concerns by saying that when Communities Protecting the Green River first started, they tried to figure out who their friends are, but found that there aren’t many people on their side.
“We have no friends east of Rawlins, north of Rock Springs, west of Green River,” Hartley said.
He added that they do have some friends in Colorado, as they face some of the same issues.
Water in Response to Weather Patterns
Mayor Demshar also explained that since water projects are based on insufficient water in certain areas, water is taken from areas that seem to have an excess of water and is moved to different locations.
However, he pointed out that when an area has a dry winter, there will not be as much water. With cyclical weather patterns, one year the area could have a high supply of water, while the next year the area may not have a sufficient supply.
“I struggle with the fact that these projects are based on the availability of the water,” Mayor Demshar said.
Councilor Rob Zotti expressed his concern over water availability downstream, and how that will affect the communities upstream.
“Downstream, they’re having issues in conserving. They’re going to start looking at us and saying, you guys need to start doing this, conserving,” Zotti said. “We need more water, but it’s you that’s going to suffer upstream.”
Hartley added that those people would be right, and that there are efforts to conserve water, but there could be more.