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Colorado River Makes Most Endangered List

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Updated: Wed, 09 Apr 2014 08:24:40 MST

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - American Rivers released the Top Ten Most Endangered American Rivers Wednesday and two Colorado rivers were included.

The Upper Colorado River was listed as number two and the White river at number seven.

"Basin wide in the whole Colorado drainage there's a pretty big imbalance between our supplies and our use," said Colorado Mesa University Water Center’s Hannah Holm, "the Upper Colorado River has been hit pretty hard by diversions to the Front Range, over half of it's native flow is diverted to serve the cities and farms of the Front Range and that's been going on for over a hundred years."

"The Front Range roundtables keep pressuring for more and more diversions out of the Colorado River system," said American Rivers, Colorado River Issues assistant director Ken Neubecker.

The proposed diversions would affect the Western Slope water supply and residents of Mesa County.

"They're calling for an additional brand new diversion from one of these rivers or from a couple of these rivers which could seriously impact Western Slope in terms of the recreational economy, our agriculture, and the river environments," said Neubecker.

River basin roundtable discussions are currently taking place to discuss the future water plan and negotiate potential new diversions.

"One of the big things that's going on now is the Colorado Water Plan that Governor Hickenlooper has asked for and each of the basins has to put together their own plan by July and then that will get wrapped up into a draft plan by December and a lot of that concerns how we're going to meet Colorado's water needs going forward,” said Holm.

"Water going over to the Front Range does not come back to the Western Slope, it's lost to us completely," said Neubecker.

For more information on the Colorado Water Plan and the roundtable discussions click here.

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