RWR Asks Douglas County to Help Fund San Luis Valley Water Export Proposal
Renewable Water Resources (RWR), a Centennial, Colorado based company has submitted a proposal to Douglas County requesting $20 million in COVID-relief funds to jump start their water export plan from the San Luis Valley. You can share how this proposal will be detrimental to the San Luis Valley, our agricultural economy and the environment by contacting the Douglas County Commissioners and news media. Contact information is listed below for the commissioners and the news media.
Contact Douglas County Board of County Commissioners
To share your viewpoint with the Douglas County Commissioners, please mail a letter to a specific commissioner or email the address below. There is a central telephone number to reach the commissioners.
Email for public comments on the ARPA (COVID-relief) funds: ARPA@douglas.co.us
Douglas County Commissioner’s Office
100 3rd Street
Castle Rock, CO 80104
Commissioner Abe Laydon, District 1
Commissioner Laydon has indicated he has not taken a position.
Commissioner George Teal, District II
Commissioners Teal has stated, “As a Douglas County commissioner, any opportunity to bring water into the county I think does bear serious consideration.”
Commissioner Lora Thomas, District III
Commissioner Thomas has stated she does not support the RWR proposal
Write the News Media
You can submit a letter to the editor or guest opinion editorial to the following publications. We recommend you target the Douglas County newspapers and the Denver newspapers. See information below.
Douglas County News Press and all associated publications
OP/ED: Submit 750 – 800 words to Thelma Grimes at email@example.com
Letter to Editor: Submit 250 words to firstname.lastname@example.org
OP/ED: Submit 750 – 800 words to Editor Larry Ryckman at email@example.com or (303) 900-5786
Letter to Editor: Submit 300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org
Letter to Editor: Submit 250 words to email@example.com or (303) 954-1331, or online at
OP/ED: Submit 500 words to Luke Lyons at firstname.lastname@example.org or (719) 544-0166
Letter to Editor: Submit 250 words to email@example.com
Following are some key messages you may consider including in your emails and letters:
San Luis Valley cities, farmers and residents universally oppose the RWR proposal. The Protect our Water coalition consists of 15 water districts and entities, more than 20 cities and towns, and more than 20 conservation and environmental groups, and we’re growing www.protectsanluisvalleywater.com/members.
There is no renewable water in the SLV to export. There is no water available to be moved outside the San Luis Valley to Douglas County. Both the shallow and deep aquifers are “over-appropriated.” RWR’s statement that there is a billion acre feet of water under the valley floor is false and has been debunked in court.
Agriculture is the economic driver of the San Luis Valley. The roughly 1,600 farms and ranches in the Valley account for close to $400 million market value of products sold. Colorado is the second largest potato growing region in the U.S. Every facet of the local economy is dependent on agriculture. Water leaving the Valley will not have economic benefits.
RWR’s plan faces insurmountable odds of ever getting done. It will cost at least $1 billion dollars for the federal permitting, water court and infrastructure costs (a long pipeline need to move San Luis Valley to east slope). It’s a bad investment for Douglas County and siphoning off funds that could support more viable projects. RWR’s says it will use reservoirs that belong to Denver Water and Aurora Water, which would require agreements and contracts with these water providers that do not exist, and we don’t believe Denver and Aurora Water will approve.
There have been several attempts to transport water out of the Valley, and all have been defeated. RWR is undermining efforts in the Valley to locally solve water scarcity problems. RWR’s project will put additional strain on the local economy, environment and communities making successful aquifer and recovery and agriculture even more challenging.
RWR’s $50 million community fund would be a one-time payment and will not go far. The longer-term consequences of damaging the local agricultural economy far outweigh any short-lived benefit of such payment. It will harm our agricultural production, livelihoods, and community. The San Luis Valley does not want ‘buy and dry for export’ to devastate our community, like what happened in Crowley County.
There is no “net gain” environment from RWR’s proposal. Their plan to add 9,000 acre-feet back into the system would require the dry up of an additional 10,0000 acres of land in the valley. RWR’s plan would pump water out of a concentrated area that could harm area creeks and streams that flow through and adjacent to the Great Sand Dunes National Park, the Baca National Wildlife Refuge and the San Luis Lakes State Wildlife Areas. The Valley supports at least 13 threatened and endangered species and more than 260 species of birds including the sandhill cranes.
Their plan is outdated and out of touch with the realities of Colorado Water. The era of large, expensive transbasin diversion is over. RWR’s plan could cost well more than $1 billion to build and does not align with Colorado’s Water Plan. It does not support the state’s goal of avoiding agricultural buy and dry and new transbasin diversions that are not supported by all impacted basins of origin.
The San Luis Valley has a long history of working hard to help solve its water scarcity issues. Locals have worked collaboratively to create and implement water management plans and programs to address aquifer recovery.