RBC I Living at the headwaters of the Yampa and White rivers and many of their tributaries makes it very easy for us to take water for granted. We turn on the faucets and water flows. We open our headgates and water rushes through. We put our boats into the rapids and water takes us downstream. We toss a line into a high mountain lake and a fish attaches itself to the hook.
But things may change. The population in Colorado is predicted to double by 2050. Drought, wildfire, flooding or climate change could create circumstances we cannot currently imagine. Existing municipal and agriculture infrastructure will age and the costs of replacement are rising. Our demands will grow while the supplies dwindle.
So who is watching out for Northwest Colorado? Who cares if we have enough water to meet our needs? Who is taking the challenge to guarantee that our water will continue to flow?
Many individuals and groups are working tirelessly on water issues. And the group that funnels everyone together is the Yampa-White-Green Rivers Basin Round Table (YWG RT). Since being formed by a gubernatorial order in 2010, our basin roundtable has met hundreds of times spending thousands of hours to assure that Northwest Colorado is ready for the future.
The board of YWG RT is comprised of 32 positions representing a variety of water stakeholders and interests in Routt, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties. Members are elected and/or appointed to their positions per the requirements of the statute and the roster is filled with people who have a passion for preserving the water in our region. Their officers are elected annually and must represent the Yampa and White river basins.
Currently, YWG RT is has two vacancies on its board and is seeking applicants to fill these at-large positions. An at-large position may represent environmental, agriculture, recreation, domestic water provider, industrial or community interests. The applicant must reside in the geographical area defined by the Yampa, White and Green river basins. It is not mandatory to own or represent water right holdings to be eligible to serve in this position. Applications for these positions must be submitted by Wednesday March 1 and will be reviewed at the Round Table meeting in Craig on March 9.
After years of analysis and base-line studies, development of the Basin Implementation Plan and collaboration with regional and state groups, the YWG RT is now ready to promote “on-the-ground” projects. They have grant funds available to assist with the cost of projects that focus on actions that can help Northwest Colorado meet immediate challenges or adapt to changing conditions that face our water supply and demand.
There are things to be done to preserve the quantity and quality of the waters we treasure. Don’t let the issues flood by. Become educated and take an active role in determining which way our water will flow.
The next Yampa-White-Green Round Table is Wednesday March 9 at the American Legion Shadow Mountain Clubhouse, 1055 County Road 7 in Craig starting at 6:15 p.m. The meeting is open to the public and attendance is encouraged.
For information about applying for a roundtable position or grant funding, contact Mary Brown, Round Table Chair at 970-361-0068 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Marsha Daughenbaugh is the Executive Director of the Community Agriculture Alliance, Inc.