On behalf of myself and the board members of the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District (RBWCD) I submit this letter to the Herald Times and your readers with intent to bring deserved attention to the recent Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) meetings that took place at Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC). The event was significant on many levels, with outcomes that should be properly recognized and celebrated.
This two day event brought over 50 attendees to Rangely from water districts across Colorado. It was only the second time since its inception that the CWCB held a statewide summit in Rio Blanco County, and offered a timely opportunity to showcase the recently opened Rector Building on the CNCC campus.
In addition to regular business, discussions also highlighted the development of Colorado’s first ever state wide water plan and provided a fantastic opportunity to emphasis the great work that continues to be done in Rio Blanco County in regards to water storage and planning. Members of the CWCB toured the hydro plant at Taylor Draw Dam, and met with RBWCD Board and staff.
Key water policy makers/influencers from across the state were provided with updates and answers to questions on the White River storage feasibility study and possible future projects that the RBWCD has been working on over the last year and a half. Due in part to these activities and other presentations, an additional grant of nearly $200,000 was awarded for the continuation of the White River storage feasibility study and possible future projects.
The crowning moment came at the community BBQ hosted by CNCC & the RBWCD where we had the honor of awarding “Lifetime Achievement Awards” to David Smith and the recently deceased Frank Cooley, “…in recognition of years of service to the water community in Western Colorado.” Members of the Rio Blanco County community shared good food and cheer with our guests from across the state.
The entire event was fantastic and shed a very positive light on our corner of the state. Recognition should be given to CNCC President Russell George and the CNCC staff, as well as thanks to Rangely Mayor Frank Huitt, Rangely Town Manager Peter Brixius, Rangely Area Chamber of Commerce Director Kristin Steele, County Commissioner Jon Hill, Ed Coryell of the Yellow Jack Water Conservation District and the community members of Rio Blanco County who helped make this such a successful and special event and something we should all be very proud of.
Lastly, we invite anyone interested in learning more about the White River storage feasibility study and future projects to attend a public workshop being hosted during our next regularly scheduled board meeting.
The meeting is Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. on the Colorado Northwestern Community College Campus in the Weiss Center Conference Room. During this public workshop, we will discuss financial considerations including: project costs, financial benefits of the project, possible stakeholders and beneficiaries and much more.
The White River water storage project could be one of the most significant and economically impactful projects in Rio Blanco County in the next 50 years, so we encourage the community to attend and participate in the process. Questions and public input are encouraged.
Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District