SB-23 A Missed Opportunity

July 01, 2014

Trout Unlimited recently asked Our Colorado River supporters to contact their legislators and push for passage of Senate Bill-23 (SB-23). The bill would have enabled irrigators to place water saved through irrigation efficiencies into an in-stream flow (ISF) right to be administered by the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) for the benefit of the river and the people of the state. With your support, SB-23 made its way out of the legislature and onto Governor Hickenlooper’s desk to be signed into law. However, the bill was vetoed by the governor.

Notwithstanding the governor’s decision, we are encouraged by the dialogue that arose out of the bill.  As SB-23 winded its way through the legislative process over the past 18 months, leaders from the farming and ranching and conservation communities came together for extended conversation about irrigated agriculture, water use efficiencies, and healthy stream flows.  In the end, many groups and individuals supported SB-23; others had concerns about some of the elements of the bill.  Though we were not able to enact SB-23 into law, there was wide recognition that irrigated agriculture and healthy rivers and streams can go hand-in-hand and that our communities need to continue to explore opportunities to meet our mutual goals and values.

In his letter explaining his veto, Governor Hickenlooper lauded the goals of the SB-23 and praised the collaborative process that led to its passage through the General Assembly.  The governor expressed support for a pilot program to flesh out the ideas included in the bill.  TU looks forward to more open conversation with our agricultural partners about that possibility.  Together, we can find creative ways protect our unique quality of life in western Colorado.Trout Unlimited recently asked Our Colorado River supporters to contact their legislators and push for passage of Senate Bill-23 (SB-23). The bill would have enabled irrigators to place water saved through irrigation efficiencies into an in-stream flow (ISF) right to be administered by the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) for the benefit of the river and the people of the state. With your support, SB-23 made its way out of the legislature and onto Governor Hickenlooper’s desk to be signed into law. However, the bill was vetoed by the governor.

 

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