Outdated Water Management on the Colorado River Need to be Updated for this Century

Today’s guest blog about the #1 Colorado River- a part of our America’s Most Endangered Rivers® series- is from Alison Gannett, owner of Holy Terror Farm in Paonia, Colorado and a member of the National Young Farmers’ Coalition.   Alison is also a World Champion big mountain freeskier, founder of The Save Our Snow Foundation, champion endurance mountain biker, founder of the infamous Rippin Chix Steep Camps, and an award-winning global cooling advocate.

When I heard that the Colorado River would be named #1 on the 2013 list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers® by American Rivers, I was saddened, but not surprised.  

As farmers in Colorado’s North Fork Valley, my husband Jason and I know full well that the waters of the Colorado River are the lifeblood of agriculture for us as well as many Western farmers in the seven basin states.  Outdated water management requires us to “use it or lose it”, which does not make sense in this century.  

I did not hesitate to be a part of the Las Vegas press conference announcing the news on April 17.

Growers in our area have consistently found new crops to grow and new ways to make our crops more productive.  The booming wine industry here that produces high-quality wines is one example, and organic farming is another.  

At Holy Terror Farm, we raise all kinds of chemical-free vegetables, beans and herbs, grow fruits, nuts, and berries, raise chickens, cows, and pigs, and even have a thriving apiary.  But as innovative as we can get, one thing we can’t do without is good, clean water from the river.  Without a flowing and healthy Colorado River, nothing grows and our farms perish.

The way we as a nation treat our natural resources scares me.  To sit back and watch the Colorado River dry up and get polluted for lack of adequate care and protection is something I cannot do.  I will do my part to be a good steward of the land and water, both on my farm and as an advocate for sensible, sustainable conservation policies throughout the Colorado River System.

Tell Congress we can’t afford to “use it or lose it” anymore! Don’t let the Colorado be sucked dry!