By Kathy Chandler-Henry

I am writing to express my gratitude to Sen. John Hickenlooper for his recent visit to Eagle County and for his support for the efforts to protect and preserve the Shoshone water rights.

The permanent protection of the Shoshone water rights presents an opportunity to secure the flows of the Colorado River for future generations of Coloradans and has united bipartisan support from both sides of the Continental divide. These water rights are not only critical to the ecological health of the Colorado River but also to the economic vitality of our communities.

The Shoshone hydroelectric plant, through its senior, non-consumptive water rights, ensures that a consistent flow of water is maintained in the river, supporting agriculture, recreation, and a healthy environment. The state of Colorado and 18 West Slope water entities and local governments, including Eagle County, have pledged over $51 million toward the $99 million purchase price since the signing of the purchase and sale agreement between the Colorado River District and Xcel Energy in December. This is a once-in-a-generation investment in water security for the Colorado River.