(June 5) – The sponsors of one of the 2014 legislative session’s biggest water conservation measures said today that they were disappointed and puzzled by Gov. John Hickenlooper’s veto of the bill.

SB14-23, sponsored by Sen. Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass Village) and Rep. KC Becker (D-Boulder), would have incentivized West Slope owners of water rights to make water conservation improvements, e.g. more efficient sprinklers, and to leave the water efficiency savings in the stream, promoting healthy river flows without jeopardizing the owners’ water rights under the use-it-or-lose-it principle.

“This was a major initiative to promote wise water use, and it was a win-win for Western Slope agricultural users and the environment,” Rep. Becker said. “The governor repeatedly states that our water efforts need to begin with conservation. He missed a great opportunity to incentivize water conservation by Western Slope water users.”

“I’m disappointed,” Sen. Schwartz said. “The goal of this legislation was keeping our rivers healthy, while protecting the assets of Colorado farmers and ranchers. Water is essential to the Colorado economy, and we must use it wisely to plan for all of our future needs.”

“If we’re going to effectively manage our state’s most precious natural resource, we had better be open to policy changes,” Rep. Becker said.

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