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Every drop counts in Colorado



By Allen Best

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. – Just how scarce water rights are becoming in the headwaters of Colorado is told in seemingly water-rich Summit County. There, state water officials are cracking down on unauthorized use of water from wells located in unincorporated areas.

“Every stinking drop counts,” says Scott Hummer, the state water commissioner. “There are eyeballs looking at every drop.”

Certain types of wells can be used for domestic purposes, but not for outdoor purposes such as watering lawns or washing cars. Those who want additional rights are required to buy so-called augmentation water rights. The thinking, Hummer tells the Summit Daily News, is that if a homeowner uses water on a lawn, that’s water that isn’t allowed to collect in the fissures in the rock and thus make it down into a stream, where a rancher or municipality may have senior water rights.

“We have an obligation to ensure there are no injuries to senior water rights,” Hummer explained.

The Summit Daily notes that the amount in question this year is small, about 125 acre-feet, which compares to the 60,000 to 80,000 acre-feet drawn by the City of Denver annually from the basin via its Dillon Reservoir.

The same issue has cropped up elsewhere in Colorado, most prominently in the South Platte River Valley, where the state’s largest cities and most productive farms are located. Some farm wells have been shut down because they take out-of-priority water.


No room for Indigo

BANFF, Alberta – Responding to public sentiment, Banff town officials are planning to deny a business-license to Indigo Books, the largest book retailer in Canada.

For years, notes the Rocky Mountain Outlook, residents and owners of small businesses have raised concerns about the demise of mom-and-pop shops and the arrival of multi-national franchise operations such as those operated by Gap and Starbucks.

“There is no place on earth like Banff. It is our responsibility to keep the Banff experience unique,” said Gabin Wedin, whose family has owned the Banff Book & Art Den for 42 years. Another long-term resident, Kate Tooke, concurred. “I don’t want (Banff) to become some sort of experience you can have in Calgary,” she said.

The legal basis for denying the business license is in doubt, however. A former mayor, Ted Hart, said the municipality may be vulnerable to a lawsuit.


TP rolls getting second look

BANFF, Alberta – Some people using bathrooms in Banff have been startled to find a grayish brown paper coming from toilet paper dispensers. It’s the latest effort in a recycling program that is saving the municipality $13,000 a year.

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