Our Future Drinking Water at Risk

Save Greeley’s Water continues its efforts to protect the future quality of Greeley’s drinking water supply.  Save Greeley’s Water has revived its Charter Change Amendment Petition drive.  These Charter Change Amendments are the same as those circulated earlier in the year.  Even though the City of Greeley closed on the Terry Ranch deal, these amendments, if approved at the November election, would give the citizens some say in their water future.  For instance, If Amendment 17-9 passed, the City could not sell our water rights or water infrastructure without a vote of the people. 

And don’t for a minute think the City would not do this.  Over past years, the City sold half of its Windy Gap water to various front range cities.  This is wholly consumable water that could have gone into the newly permitted Chimney Hollow Reservoir that will soon be built near Carter Lake.  

In 1986, the City of Greeley tried to sell its five high mountain reservoirs;  Barnes Meadow, Comanche, Twin Lake, Hourglass, and Peterson to Thornton.  The Director of W & S at the time had read a popular book called “Zero Inventories” by Robert Hall and decided that the City should not keep excess inventory of anything…. including water.  An effort by citizens to stop the sale was successful and the City Council voted 4-3 against it.  Mayor Markley wisely respected and honored the citizens wishes by breaking  the tie vote.  We hold him in high regard. 

This time, in regard to Terry Ranch, the City Council was downright hostile to the citizens wishes and actions and they purchased uranium tainted water in the Cheyenne Basin, a known uranium district, for our drinking water.  City officials will be celebrating their purchase with a victory party at Terry Ranch on May 17.  Did you get your invitation?

The City has stated that it plans to abandon the  permitting process with US Army Corps of Engineers to enlarge Milton Seaman Reservoir (MSR).  When the City finally admits to the public that it has nowhere to put its additional 15,000 acre feet of conditional water right decrees for MSR without enlarging it, the City will find a buyer.  This process could be in the works right now.  It is highly likely that the City of Fort Collins is interested in acquiring Greeley’s high quality Poudre River assets which are senior to Fort Collins conditional decrees for Halligan Reservoir.  Or Greeley City Officials may choose to sell its water assets to a thirsty city in the Denver Metro Area, such as Thornton.  If this occurs, that hard to treat Terry Ranch water will not be a drought supply, it will be our everyday supply.

This is why these Charter Change Amendments need to be on the November ballot.  Amendment 17-10 will prohibit the City from buying recycled wastewater and groundwater and putting it into our water system.  We realize that the City has already purchased groundwater.  But these Charter Change Amendments could keep that groundwater out of our water system for a long time since we have such a good supply of surface water. If a vote of the public is required by Charter, then the decision would be up to you if and when you want to consume water that has some uranium and possibly other contaminants in it.

We need people to help us circulate the petitions for signatures.  We need to acquire 3,101 verified signatures of registered Greeley voters by July 9 to get the petitions on the November ballot.  If you think you could obtain 50 signatures by July 9, please contact me to get a petition.  There are a lot of community events that take place before July 9, such as Friday Fest and all of the Stampede events.  With Covid on the wane it is possible that people will want to congregate and do something good for their community at the same time.

Please consider becoming a petition circulator.  We need all the help we can get to keep Greeley’s drinking water clean and safe for our families.

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