CO-04 (Special Election) See Full Big Line

(R) Greg Lopez

(R) Trisha Calvarese



President (To Win Colorado) See Full Big Line

(D) Joe Biden*

(R) Donald Trump



CO-01 (Denver) See Full Big Line

(D) Diana DeGette*


CO-02 (Boulder-ish) See Full Big Line

(D) Joe Neguse*


CO-03 (West & Southern CO) See Full Big Line

(D) Adam Frisch

(R) Jeff Hurd

(R) Ron Hanks




CO-04 (Northeast-ish Colorado) See Full Big Line

(R) Lauren Boebert

(R) Deborah Flora

(R) J. Sonnenberg




CO-05 (Colorado Springs) See Full Big Line

(R) Jeff Crank

(R) Dave Williams



CO-06 (Aurora) See Full Big Line

(D) Jason Crow*


CO-07 (Jefferson County) See Full Big Line

(D) Brittany Pettersen



CO-08 (Northern Colo.) See Full Big Line

(D) Yadira Caraveo

(R) Gabe Evans

(R) Janak Joshi




State Senate Majority See Full Big Line





State House Majority See Full Big Line





Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
August 30, 2010 10:14 PM UTC

Maes Has Zero Understanding of Water

  • by: MADCO

(This is a surprise because…? – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes (R) is either seriously math challenged, crazy or a big fat liar.

Recently he spoke to the Colorado Water Congress and said:

He would support new reservoirs to keep Colorado water in state.


“I have a pretty simple policy on water so far: If it starts in Colorado, it’s our water,” Maes said.…

He wants to cut taxes and the state is already facing budget shortfalls that require cuts, and yet Maes has a magic source of funding to build “new reservoirs.”

It does not add up.

Further, he is flat wrong on the law. Water that starts here is sometimes Colorado’s, sometimes it’s committed to our downstream neighbors.

So which is it? Is he lying, crazy or just so math challenged that he cannot see that adding expense and cutting revenues does not work?

And other than being flat out, idiotically wrong, how does he propose to change the water agreements in place and federal so that water that starts in Colroado is our water.?



57 thoughts on “Maes Has Zero Understanding of Water

        1. A great amount of the water produced by U.S. Burewau of Reclamation projects is subsidized by the U.S. taxpayer, not by users.  

          In theory, those projects are self-financing.  But three riotously imprecise definitions mock that.

          1-Long-term interest rates used to discount these capitol intensive projects are far below free-market rates or even below the rates the Treasury itself must pay to borerow the money that builds the projects.

          2-Much of the cost is defrayed by power revenues.  But rates are traditionally kept below the market rates for such power to urban users like Los Angeles.

          3-If all else fails, balances its books by throwing in “non-reimbursable benefits” such as flood control and recreational use.

            The net result is that agricultural water users pay far less than the true cost of the projects, so their water is heavily subsidized.

            I assume you are very happy at the thought of taxpayers in New York and Illinois paying for subsidized water projects in Colorado.  At long last, you have found a form of socialism you embrace?

          1. like Denver, Fort Collins, and others usually pay the full cost of their projects in users fees.  (though like about everything by the gov, they do get certain tax breaks.)

               Can’t tell what type of project Maes is talking about, but I do know the water Congress well and it is dominated by the users of the heavily subsidized U.S. Bureau of Reclatation projects.

          2. Since storage facilities are expensive, to build them requires massive spending and bonds (remember Ref. A anyone?), it either costs state/govt money up front or people will be assessed a fee in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.  

            PS, thanks V and all y’all, my irrigation water comes via a BuRec project, so my tasty peaches are bought by you all…about $1,200 per acre foot if I recall my Marc Reisner correctly.

  1. ANYONE running for office in CO really needs to have an understanding of CO water law and the CO Compact.

    Any water to support additional development is going to come from rights that are currently ag. That means buy and dry unless laws are changed to implement minimal irrigation even of non-ag land.

    Maes, BJ and others cannot help but display absolute ignorance when they begin to talk water. Even McInnis knew better.

    It is very unlikely that any new water storage will be built in the next decade. Any real savings are going to come from conservation and restricting use and development.

      1. but not until you understand some beginning concepts such a prior appropriation, first in time=first in right.

        Then there is acre feet, seniority, type of water, etc.

    1. Any water to support additional development is going to come from rights that are currently ag. That means buy and dry unless laws are changed to implement minimal irrigation even of non-ag land.

      I think that if Maes could somehow get the average Coloradoan to drink just one additional pint on imported (and the key here is imported) beer per day . . . we could start filling up some new resevoirs.

      Might have to lower the legal drinking age to about six???

      But, this could be one of Dan’s more workable plans.

        1. If Maes is elected, there will be boarded up buildings including liquor stores as the popiulace leaves.

          Doubtful we’ll ago to the Dakotas (low taxes and low unemployment  but ag based economies don’t generally have room for newbies)

          Detroit metro has houses cheap. And plenty of water. And it’s close to Canada.

    2. But most running for the leg or for statewide office do not have even a minimal understanding of water law.  Was it former Senator Harold McCormick who used to remark about how few water owners (water rights, ditch rights, etc) there were in the legislature?  And that was years ago.  Wonder what the number is now.  My impression is that not only do candidates not have a minimal understanding, but the electeds often don’t see the importance of learning about water law.

      1. or casino owners. I want laws that take care of our people and our lands, not water rights owners. Many of them sit on numerous commissions and hold sway in many parts of our state.

        1. I’m a water rights owner (through ditch rights).  If we don’t have elected officials who understand at least a little about who owns water in Colorado, and how the rights to that water are governed, then there will be nothing standing in the way of “water flowing toward money.”  In other words, the burgeoning Front Range will own the bulk of the available water, and much more of Colorado will look as many parts of the de-watered Eastern Plains look now.  Personally I’d like to see the small towns of the Western Slope, the mountains, and southern and southeastern Colorado survive and thrive.

          1. But, I’m sure you’ll acknowledge that water rights owners are everywhere that discussions occur, that decisions are made.

            Are you involved in any of the basin groups? I’m in the Upper Ark one.

            The eastern plains are dismal and if we keep taking all the ag water for metro development it will only become worse. I believe that we must find a better way, a way of selling/transferring rights without buy and dry.

            I also believe that Denver, and yes, San Diego, have done some incredibly valuable work in conservation. Conservation and removal of turf are vital. Lets dry lawns rather than ag fields. Lets also stop the practice of flooding fields. We don’t grow  rice or sugar in CO. Flooding fields is a waste. I’d like to see tickets issued to any homeowner that has water flowing into gutters.

          2. describe that vision if you will.

            I’ve been seeing a lot about “eat local” and I wonder if we did it here, would we have variety behind dairy, beef, chicken, seasonal apples, peaches, melons.

            Is there a way that more water in the “small towns of the Western Slope, the mountains, and southern and southeastern Colorado ” goes to something besides ag?  ANd if ag, what?

            1. melons, etc have pretty much been dried up and out of Crowley County.

              Selling all the water rights in any area pretty much assures that there will not be development in those areas. personally, I’d rather the large masses remain in the metro areas where they are now. But, in Lake County we could double, or even triple our population and decide where to put the next stop light. That kind of development would allow us to have enough retail here if we had enough customer base to support it outside of tourism. ALL development requires water.

              The CO Compact was done to allow several states to have enough water to be able to develop. It has really worked remarkably well.

              In CO we often encounter fools and politicans like Maes who think the answer is simple. Keep CO water in CO. The fact is it is NOT our water.  

  2. that the state of Colorado claims that it doesn’t have a bucket to store them in.  But year after year, I asked supposed experts how much it was.  Answers ranged from 100,000 to 400,000 acre feet but nobody ever pinned it down.  Then it turns out we have water storage rights downstream, in Hoover Dam (lake Mead) and other reservoirs.  How do we get it back to Colorado?  Well, technically we don’t, but we release it downstream to California or somebody who has a claim for it, then we keep water in one of our reservoirs that we should have sent downstream but don’t have to because we released an offsetting amount from lake Mead.  We do the same from Lake McConaghy in Nebraska (on the North Platte) to meet our obligations on the South Platte!

      Very complicated stuff, water law.  

    The two constants seem to be that the West Slope doesn’t want any of “their” water coming east of the Continental Divide, at least unless eastern users pay for a lot of compensatory story on the West Slope (like we did at Windy Gap) and all Coloradans will take a time out from our constant flogging of the evil federal gummint to beg federal taxpayers to pay for water projects that benefit only Colorado.

      Oh, one other constant:


    Whiskey is for drinking.  Water is for fighting.

    1. then there is approx 40Kaf in the Taylor that Aspinall’s legislation left in a flexible condition so that it, or portions of it, can be used in different places as need be.

      I’m sure Maes can master this with BJ’s help in about a day 😉

        1. Can’t do it while reducing revenue, but I would like to see more water storage in Colorado.

          It scares me that California is able to draw on the excess water from Colorado that we could store but don’t have the capacity and resorces to capture.

          1. I thought we gave up more claimable flow in the S. Platte basin than on the west side.  But that may not be true.

            And who pays for it? Local? State? Fed?

            Like Maes, I prefer budget fairies but they are so unreliable.

            1. of Glade reservoir up North.

              I’m not a subject matter expert on water storage funding, but I would like to see a combination of fed, state and local money to pay for storage. Local funding would come from increased user fees or assessments. State funding would come from a dedicated general fund allocation from CWCB and/or state severance tax funds. The feds could just print more money and give it to us.

              I agree, budget fairies are awesome and very cool when they fly your way, but those damn pixies will fly down black holes sooner than fund a big water project.

              To make something like this happen would require coordination, public input/education, stars aligning and, maybe, another crisis – like a drought.

              So it won’t be happening anytime soon and our water will continue to go downstream…

        2. The Army Corps of Engineers is currently studying the impact of increasing water storage space at Chatfield.  Each of the propsed alternatives pretty much wipes out all the recreation areas along the west side of the reservoir.  The regular park users would prefer that the Douglas County developers find some other place to store their water.  All our elected officials are all in favor of flooding the state park.

            1. According to the website:

              – The proposed reallocation of storage space in Chatfield Reservoir would increase the high water level up to 12 feet higher when water is stored during non-flood conditions.

              – Water level fluctuations could increase both in magnitude and frequency.  The operation of the reservoir and resulting water levels are based on a number of factors, including the water elevation at the time, flow conditions downstream, the priority of water rights of downstream users, requests for release of stored water, precipitation and evaporation.

              – Recreation facilities around the reservoir would be impacted/inundated by higher water levels, requiring a change in the operations of the reservoir and the construction and/or relocation of infrastructure, such as roads and facilities, in Chatfield State Park.

              – Recreational activities and facilities at Chatfield State Park may be impacted temporarily or put on hold for public safety during construction and/or relocation of infrastructure.

              – Environmental factors, such as water quality, fish and wildlife habitat and wetlands, may be impacted, requiring mitigation (both on-site and off-site as necessary).

              Yes, people really do swim there.  The western shore is jam packed with people on weekends during the summer.  They often run out of parking and have rangers directing traffic.  Sometimes the line of cars at the gate is so long, it takes 20 minutes just to get into the park.

              1. don’t swim naked.

                I have mixed feelings. I prefer more storage and conservation.  Adding to current storage seems like a good thing.

                I’ve seen 11 Mile and Antero – not sure you can add much there.

                DW is rebuilding Cheesman now- no room there.

                If we could safely add the storage to Chatfield, seems like a good thing.

            1. If new storage is needed I support expanding existing facilities over building new ones.  But I have not looked into this project.

              First we need conservation–drive through Mesa County in August and look at the city, the county and many peeps watering the sidewalks.  

            2. The upstream water users are mostly Dougco.


              There have been some reports that it would, in fact, cost less to build a new, separate reservoir.  No linky.  Just a rumor.

              Chatfield is also a key stop in migration patterns for several bird species.  Denver Audubon is based within Chatfield state Park.

              1. to build new, separate storage.

                Chatfield is mostly for flood control, conservation.

                If the Army Corps of Engineers though they could accomplish the same storage with a new, separate reservoir cheaper, I’m sure it would be in the Study.

      1. but can’t be afforded

        there is one that could be afforded and is needed. but, by the time permits are acquired and it is built … 12-15 years or more.

        the last one built is sitting virtually empty

  3. The Governor must have a strong understanding of Colorado water rights law and its application.  However, it more than a little confusing.  Right of first use, Industrial vs municipal vs agricultural rights. The fact that a drop of water is “owned” by hundreds of different users, depending on where it happens to be.

    Can Colorado save some of the water it is “losing” to downstream states?  Yes, but it will cost a lot of money.  Can Colorado save some of that water without significantly impacting Colorado farmers?  Not likely.

    Does water flow towards money? Yep, see Denver Water, MWD, San Diego Water.

    Do the Feds (through USBR) subsidize irrigation water to farmers in the western U.S.? Depends on who you are, east-slope farmers think the price is too high, city folk that pay hundreds of times more (for purest water found in the world)would say yes.  The U.S. Congress, which sets the policy for USBR, and thereby sets the price of the water seems to think that the price is just right.

  4. I agree. Prior appropriation and all the compacts, impacts and legislation. What did our fine Justice Hobbs say about this?

    For me, this would have been an embarrassment. I had the pleasure of hearing Justice Hobbs not only discuss water law several times, but also recite his fine poetry and writings.

    Thanks for putting this out there.

  5. You don’t even own the rain drops that hit the roof of your house.  Residential rain barrels are illegal in Colorado unless your only water supply is from a well.  Municipal water customer?  No rain barrel for you!  Until last summer, all rain barrels were illegal in Colorado.

    Here’s more:

    1. When it touches something, it’s fate is defined.

      When it touches your roof, you may have a single use of it before it goes to it’s down stream destiny.

      So you can’t trap it or divert it’s flow.

Leave a Comment

Recent Comments

Posts about

Donald Trump

Posts about

Rep. Lauren Boebert

Posts about

Rep. Yadira Caraveo

Posts about

Colorado House

Posts about

Colorado Senate

49 readers online now


Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to stay in the loop with regular updates!