The Pueblo Chieftain editorial board would like to clarify its position regarding the ongoing review of the proposed Southern Delivery System.
The comments come in response to a recent column and editorial in the Colorado Springs Business Journal calling for a negotiated settlement of the SDS proposal.
The Chieftain agrees that any agreement on a water project for Colorado Springs and El Paso whether SDS or another project must benefit the entire region.
However, we think we are still a long way off from an agreement. Currently, the Bureau of Reclamation is getting an earful about SDS-related problems, not adequately addressed by the current draft Environmental Impact Statement. Under federal law, the bureau must address each and every one of the public’s concerns.
Also, we are not nearly as confident as the Business Journal is that the elected governments and regulatory agencies in Colorado Springs and El Paso County will carry through with any promises to seriously address flood control and water quality on Fountain Creek.
We haven’t seen anything but “concept” plans.
We haven’t seen any funding guarantees.
Meanwhile, ideas continue to emerge for options other and SDS. They include:
A multipurpose re-use reservoir on Fountain Creek or off channel.
A reservoir in eastern Pueblo County that could benefit all of El Paso County as well as the proposed Super Ditch and the proposed Lower Arkansas Valley Conduit.
Within the SDS proposal, The Chieftain editorial board likes the Downstream Intake option at the confluence of the Arkansas River and Fountain Creek.
The option would provide Colorado Springs more water at less cost over time and ensure that Colorado Springs is a partner in protecting Fountain Creek.
Finally, the Chieftain editorial board rejects any assertion that the newspaper was too heavy handed in the past and is now softening its approach on the issue.
The claims are wrong on both counts.
Publisher Bob Rawlings, Assistant Publisher Jane Rawlings and the rest of the editorial board remain as vocal as ever on the issue. And their desire for a real solution is unwavering.
The people of southern Colorado aren’t interested in a deal for the sake of a deal. They want the Arkansas River protected and Fountain Creek fixed before a pipeline is built.
The Pueblo Chieftain