Groundwater and surface water resources in the SLV are connected, with aquifers sustaining streamflows that support critical habitat for cold-water fisheries and outdoor recreation opportunities. Pumping water out of the aquifers, as the RWR project proposes to do, would impact fish and wildlife habitat as well as recreation and the economic viability of the Valley on multiple fronts. Not least of those impacts could be a negative draw on the unique hydrology of Great Sand Dunes National Park, which attracts more than 600,000 annual visitors to the region’s unique landscape and waters.
The RWR proposal would also impact local communities and a significant economic driver of the region – agriculture. The proposal looks to export approximately 22,000 acre feet of water per year which could dry up at least 40,000 irrigated acres in the Valley, impacting not only local farmers and ranchers but also the businesses that depend on them. Agriculture plays a vital economic role in the Valley, and it’s also inextricably linked from culture and community connections to the land itself.
Douglas County Commissioners are currently considering the proposal from RWR as they grapple with a growing population within their communities. However, there are other options - like water conservation, efficiency and reuse - that are lower in cost and create local jobs that the County should consider instead.
Join us in asking the Douglas County Commissioners to reject RWR’s proposal to extract and export vital groundwater from the San Luis Valley to the Front Range.