Teagen Blakey: Mitigation or misworded?

Too often the word “mitigation” is used to justify and explain away the very real damages of construction projects. In this case I‘d like to refer to Lurline Curran‘s letter from April 27 supporting the expansion of Gross Reservoir due to the mitigation measures Denver Water has promised in return.

Admittedly it is hard to imagine that the numerous “zero flow days” (days when the river actually runs dry), an officially anticipated result of the project, is an improvement to the “already stressed aquatic environment of the Fraser and Colorado rivers.” Significantly lower flows in the Fraser River after an additional 77,000 acre feet of water is diverted will increase the temperature of what little water remains, while at the same time decreasing the amount of oxygen available. This is an exceedingly poor combination to support aquatic life such as the endangered greenback cutthroat trout.

Contrary to Curran‘s statement that “environmental enhancements and mitigation that are part of the CRCA cannot be replicated without the reservoir expansion project,” the only thing lacking is interest from Denver Water in investing their funds if they don‘t receive a direct benefit.

Far from not offering solutions to the situation, opponents of this project have actually put forward the only real long-term solutions: conservation. While Denver Water has proven they are actually quite good at water conservation they need to take a closer look at the Metro Water District of Southern California. This water district paid a total of $350 million to people in Las Vegas and Tucson to take out their lawns which saved 80,000 acre fee of water each year. Meanwhile Denver Water proposes spending $350 million to gain 15,000 acre feet of water per year. Certainly makes you wonder if the environment is really a concern for Denver Water.

Teagen Blakey

Nederland