Addressing White River water crisis

RANGELY | The water situation in Rangely’s Kenney Reservoir was the subject of a special work session before Tuesday’s town council meeting. Apparently, sediment is building up in the dam and it is feared that if a solution is not found soon, the quantity and quality of the water in Kenney Reservoir will be impacted in a negative way. Efforts to conserve water in Rio Blanco’s Kenney Reservoir could prove expensive. Dredging has a hefty price tag: $700,000. The solution, according to the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District, is to construct a new reservoir on Wolf Creek. Proponents of the project list several benefits to the community: cost, favorable pumping conditions for O&M, no identified fatal flaws (geologic, habitat, or wetlands). Increases in recreation and water supply revenue would also benefit the community, along with potential hydroelectric revenue potential, regional economic diversification and improved opportunities in agriculture. Farming and agricultural concerns in the area should not be a problem, says Alden Vanden Brink of the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District. “New ways of irrigating and different places to graze will be available for those who currently use the land for such purposes,” Vanden Brink said. Although it is still in the planning stages, members of the town council voted to redirect funds originally meant for maintenance to a wharf at Kenney Reservoir toward the Wolf Creek Reservoir project. Like most things, money for the project seems to be an important concern in moving the project forward. In other business, the council heard more from local business owner Beth Wiley in regard to her proposal for a tourism magazine to promote Rangely. Tourism is a big concern for Rangely and the businesses operating in the area. Wiley is putting the magazine—titled Home on the Range—together and she is very passionate about the project. The publication would feature content about Rangely, current events and activities as well as the history of the town of Rangely. Some concerns were raised by certain members of the council including Mayor Joseph Nielsen. He brought up the fact that most of the unsolicited mail that is sent out directly to residences are thrown in the trash. He wondered what research could help back up the notion this would not be the case with Wiley’s publication. The price tag for the publication would be $12,000 annually. Wiley stated “marketing is her field of expertise” and said she has more than 10 years of experience in the field. There were mixed reactions among the members of the Rangely town council in terms of how willing they are to invest such a large amount of money in the magazine. Many felt that at the very least they would need more time to look into the matter further. Wiley stated that she would go forward with the publication. She feels confident that she will be able to go to press late in October or early in November 2016. The Rangely town council will make a decision about its investment in the publication in future meetings.