ALAMOSA – Water, water, water – there is seldom enough and there is even less this year. But demands on the scarce supply remain strong and the Rio Grande Basin continues to face severe decline in the aquifer that underlies the San Luis Valley. At the same time, there are serious community-based efforts working to restore a better balance.
Learn the history of SLV water resource management and how water leaders are addressing the issues, at a timely presentation by two of Colorado’s leading water experts. “A Tale of Two Rivers: Ground Water Management in the South Platte and Rio Grande Basins” begins at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17, in Adams State University Porter Hall room 130. The event is free and open to the public.
Given the current extreme drought and ever-increasing pressures on the water supply in the San Luis Valley and across Colorado, the talk will provide background on how two important river basin communities seek balance between surface and ground water supplies.
Starting with Reagan Waskom, director and chair of the Colorado Water Institute at Colorado State University, the presentation will share the history of ground water management in the South Platte River basin. Building on that background, Cleave Simpson, general manager of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District, will discuss how the South Platte’s experience greatly influenced the SLV community’s current efforts to balance water uses here in the Rio Grande Basin.
The Adams State University Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center and Department of Biology and Earth Sciences are co-sponsors of the presentation. They aim to bring relevant and useful information to ASU’s students and faculty and the local community about critical issues related to water in the San Luis Valley, its past and current management, and community-based approaches to sustainable water use for the future.
Parking for this free event is available along Edgemont Blvd. and in the ASU Porter Hall parking lot, open to the public after 5 p.m. For more information, contact Rio de la Vista, director of the Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center, at 719-850-2255 or [email protected]
Meet the presenters
Cleave Simpson is the general manager of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District and chair of the Board of Trustees for Adams State University. A fourth generation San Luis Valley farmer and rancher, he earned a mining engineering degree from Colorado School of Mines. After working in Texas and Australia he and his wife, Cathy, returned to Alamosa. In addition to his role at the water district, he works closely with his son and father to manage their family farm and cow herds.
The RGWCD, headquartered in Alamosa, was created by the Colorado General Assembly and formed in 1967 by a vote of the people residing within its boundaries. The District was created to protect, enhance and develop water resources in Colorado’s Rio Grande basin and encompasses a five-county region including Alamosa, Rio Grande, Conejos and portions of Saguache and Mineral Counties.
Reagan Waskom, director of the Colorado Water Institute, is a member of the CSU Soil and Crop Sciences Department at Colorado State University and has worked on various water related research and outreach programs for over 30 years. He has conducted statewide educational and applied research programs on water quality, water quantity, water policy, and natural resource issues related to water use. His current research emphasis is on the integrated use of surface and groundwater, the impacts of shale gas development on water resources, climate smart agriculture, irrigation innovation, and agricultural water conservation in the Colorado River Basin and the Ogallala Aquifer.