Recreational water issues critical: Taylor

Although state Sen. Jack Taylor's recreational-water bill has died, the effort to control recreational-water appropriations still is alive.

Taylor hopes that by the end of the week, a bill that would limit the amount of water that mun-ici-palities can appropriate for recreational uses will be introduced in the state House.

Earlier this leg-is-lative session, Taylor introduced a similar bill. State representatives voted it down last week.

Taylor supports the legislation because he thinks the large recreational water appropriations that Colorado cities are requesting could gridlock the state's waterways.

Taylor said Tuesday it's important for Craig that the bill becomes a law.

Steamboat Springs has applied for a 350 cubic feet per second appropriation to protect kayaking conditions on the Yampa River.

"If Steamboat get theirs, it will make it almost impossible to do any new reservoirs above Steamboat," Taylor said.

The Steamboat Today reported last week that a reservoir could be constructed on Morrison Creek near Stagecoach. The reservoir primarily would serve residents of the Stagecoach area.

But, Taylor said, the project could be prevented by Steamboat's recreational-water request.

"If at some point in the future Craig needs more water for its supply system, this could have a bearing on that," Taylor said.

Other communities in Colorado have requested and received appr-oval for much larger appropriations than Steamboat's.

The city of Golden filed for an appropriation of 1,000 cfs in Clear Creek. According to the Colorado Riv-er Water Conservation District, that flow is greater than any flow recorded on Clear Creek.

A water appropriation could be requested in popular kayaking areas downstream from Craig, such as Yampa Canyon, Taylor said.

Such an appropriation would limit Craig's growth and usher the water across the state line.

Taylor said he knew it would be a fight to get the legislation passed. But it has not taken away from his other efforts, he said, and he has carried a half-dozen other bills.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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