From The Wet Mountain Tribune (J.E. Ward):
One of the most significant issues addressed during the meeting surrounded water. It is a problem not only for the county, but the state as a whole.
“Water ownership, immunization and management are the key issues with the water problems,” Kattnig explained.
“For us, water is vital to our Valley and our industry. We know we will have to change, but it is incumbent upon us as landowners to be at the table as these decisions are being developed.”
Local water laws were developed for the mining industry here, and as industrial utilization of water declined, agriculture became the biggest user. Today, given the size of Custer County’s population and voting strength, Kattnig said that water policies can be changed. These issues affect not only Custer County and the Arkansas River Basin, but also the Colorado River, the Rio Grande and the Platte River basins.
“People in San Diego and Los Angeles have a voice in water in the Colorado River,” Kattnig said, “and indirectly there is potential impact for water in Custer County. These water laws were made through legislation, and can be changed with legislation.”[...]
Among the dignitaries in attendance were the president of the Colorado Cattlemen Association, Gene Manuello, and the Director of the Southeast Quarter and past CCA president David Mendenhall. Together they produced information concerning Senate Bill 17, which covers the use of agriculture water transfer to new municipal developments. This bill limits the percentage of water used for lawn landscaping and to promote xeriscaping.
More Arkansas River Basin coverage here.