Propostition 7A Protects Western Slope Water for a Small Price

Local News

WESTERN SLOPE

The Colorado River Water Conservancy District has a plan to keep water on the Western Slope, and that plan is Proposition 7A. The Colorado River District is placing Propostion 7A on the ballot asking voters from 15 counties to vote yes and pay to protect our essential element that drives the economy. John Justman has been a farmer in Fruita over 41 years. John says, “We have to protect our own rights, and if we don’t do that my question is, “Who’s going to do it for us?””

The property tax would rise to 0.5 mills coming out to $1.90 per $100,000 of residential value ,according to CRWCD. General Manager, Andy Mueller with the River District says, “Your average taxpayer in Mesa County would pay $4.14 a year in more taxes.”

That $4.14 would generate millions for agriculture, infrastructure, water quality, efficiency and conservation, but you can always vote no. John says, “For Mesa County, the largest revenue source of all the agricultural commodities comes from the beef industry. 50% of it comes from that industry, and if we have to cut back on alfalfa, it’s going to have a chain reaction.” Andy says, “Local food production out of our ranchers and farms is incredibly important in today’s world, and more important in times we see our food supply chain threatened.”

Andy says Glenwood Springs is on water restrictions and operating on emergency water supplies due to the Grizzly Creek Fire burning up their watershed. He says if there’s not a winter with a great snow pack and runoff, there could be restrictions on water use throughout the Grand Valley in the years to come. “If Proposition 7A passes, that means the Colorado River District starting in 2021 will have approximately $4.9 million in additional revenue.”

The River District implementation plan states it will use the entirety of the funds for the following purposes:

-Fighting to keep water on the Western Slope

-Ensuring adequate water supplies for West Slope farmers and ranchers

-Ensuring sustainable drinking water supplies for West Slope communities

-Protecting fish, wildlife, and recreation by maintaining river levels and water quality

The Colorado River District says it will use 86% or $4.2 million for projects identified as priorities for Western Slope communities.

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