The Next Concern for Water: Crumbling Infrastructure

January 31 2011, 1:00 PM

When we checked in on the state of Colorado's water last week, the news was rather grim. A new government report indicated demand is increasing at such a rate that we will need a million more acre feet of water by 2050. Governor John Hickenlooper apparently got the memo. During the weekend's Colorado Water Congress, Hickenlooper tied the state's economic future to water, writes the Colorado Independent: "We have to look at water as having real value, and not just monetary value. Water is a sacred commodity." Indeed, state leaders are coming to grips with the fact that not enough government money is slated to help ease the water woes. Forget debating the expansion of water storage; the conversations these days center on the decay of infrastructure and the need to update it.

As the Durango Herald points out, the American Society of Civil Engineers gives the nation's highway, energy, and water systems a D-minus. Peter Binney, former head of Aurora's water department, says fees must increase, or service will be impacted. "People presume that water is free, cheap, and reliable, none of which will happen in the future unless we keep this infrastructure going," he adds. Meanwhile, in Fort Collins, officials are investigating the deaths of 250 fish found near the shoreline of an irrigation ditch. It appears they ran out of oxygen, reports the Coloradoan.