Water Front Range with a Missouri canal

State Sen. Ellen Roberts had a good idea: As part of a deal to pump Western Slope water to the Front Range cities, restrict the lawn area of residences in Denver et al. Let the people on the other side feel some of the pain that goes with a shortage of water. It’s a good idea that shouldn’t be needed.

How about a positive solution like a Missouri canal? It would bring water from the Missouri River to the Front Range cities: Cheyenne, Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Walsenberg, Raton, Santa Fe and Albuquerque – the last two via the Rio Grande. It would reduce the annual flooding of the Missouri-Mississippi and replace the expensive pumping of water across the Continental Divide.

The water would be pumped out of the Missouri somewhere within 100 miles or so of Omaha, Neb., in the spring. It would go into artificial lakes on the prairie to buffer the flow and settle mud out. A permanent dredging program would be needed to keep the lakes from silting up. The Chinese Three Gorges program will fail in a few years because of silt, as already is happening to the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River. A northern location would require less pumping power but would miss a lot of tributary water, particularly from the Platte system. A side benefit would be the world’s largest duck ponds.

The cost would be less – relative to the national economy – than DeWitt Clinton’s Erie Canal.

Right now, Colorado is following California’s lead: Pumping water from the mountains to the cities. In California, the mountain water is about all being used. The cities are buying rights to agricultural water and turning the interior valleys, the most productive part of the American farming system, back into deserts.

Destroy your cities and keep your farms, and the cities shall rise again. Destroy your farms and keep your cities, and grass shall grow in your city streets!

Why isn’t someone running for office on a Missouri canal platform?

Jerry L. Modisette

Pagosa Springs

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