By  Dennis Webb

A Western Slope fundraising effort to buy the historic Shoshone hydroelectric plant water rights is now more than half of the way toward succeeding thanks to a $2 million contribution by the City of Glenwood Springs, just downstream of the Glenwood Canyon facility.

Glenwood’s City Council unanimously approved the funding Thursday. The city’s recreation-based economy relies in part on reliable Colorado River flows through the canyon, which the plant’s water rights help assure by virtue of their seniority.

The fundraising effort, led by the Colorado River District, now has raised more than $50 million toward the $99 million effort to purchase the water rights from Xcel Energy.