Letters: The new Hydro building is critical for the West’s water future

Hydro facility important in study of water challenges

Re: “New home to study water in the West,” Jan. 6 commentary

As someone whose entire academic and professional career has dealt with western water issues, I commend Denver Water and Colorado State University for their innovative and collaborative effort to develop the Hydro building at the Spur campus.

As noted in the guest editorial, historically, water decisions were primarily based on the needs of agriculture and cities, largely ignoring the needs of Native Americans and the environment. Hopefully, the efforts at Hydro will recognize the much-needed broader perspective on addressing water matters.

Given the dramatic impacts of climate change on our water resources and critical political and policy issues (ranging from management of the Colorado River to defining what is protected under the Clean Water Act), we face unprecedented challenges in the future. Consequently, the need for broad, unbiased education on water matters for citizens as well as decision-makers has never been more critical.

The next time you turn on your faucet, eat a fresh salad, cast a fly on your favorite trout stream, or simply enjoy the beauty of a waterfall, consider how water touches every aspect of your life. Be informed, and get involved!

Gene Reetz, Denver

Editor’s note: Reetz is a retired EPA Senior Water Resource Scientist.

Classified: Who is minding the store?

We need a librarian here, stat!

Can someone please explain why U.S. classified documents don’t have some Dewey Decimal-type system to track their location and status? The question came up during the Trump investigation and now with Biden. They don’t seem to know what top-secret documents exist and where they are.

I can’t imagine how anyone would want to do undercover work for the U.S. government, knowing that their information can be misplaced somehow. Astounding.

Robert Kihm, Centennial

Slow down for the sake of helpless creatures

Drivers who value speed above all else have left their mark lately in my neighborhood of Skyland. One dead goose on 26th Avenue near Steele Street, another on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near Steele, and a dead cat.

There might be an excuse for hitting a cat if they ran out before you could stop, but a dead goose smack in the middle of the road? They walk slowly and majestically in line from one place to another, crossing roads from one grassy area to another. It would be nearly impossible not to see them and to easily avoid them. Most drivers do stop. However, some drivers value that short amount of time over the life of these birds.

Geese mate for life, so this has left a family with a father or mother alone. It is unlikely to happen, but if I ever see anyone run over a goose rather than wait for it to pass, I will take your license and report you. Otherwise, I can only hope there is such a thing as karma for drivers such as you.

Jeff Hersch, Denver

Bag fees are great, but we can do more to reduce plastic dependence

Starting this month, larger Colorado stores are charging 10 cents for each single-use plastic bag that customers request. The state legislature and Gov. Jared Polis deserve thanks for this modest advance. According to the Colorado Public Interest Research Group, on a daily basis, Coloradans use 4.6 million disposable bags. The plastic takes decades to break down.

Plastic pollution not only defaces the landscape. It accelerates global warming and the extinction of millions of species – plants, insects and marine animals – on which our well-being depends. Consumers can make a difference in several ways. Bring shopping bags to the market. Shop local to avoid plastic packaging, and where possible, buy bulk. Urge grocers to order alternatives to plastic-wrapped goods. And elect representatives to Congress who’ll commit to ending the throwaway scourge.

As things stand, we taxpayers pay for the disposal of plastic waste and the environmental harm caused by overflowing landfills and habitat destruction. This needs changing. Producers must assume the costs of the environmental impacts of their products. Broader legislation to make this happen would shift gears toward an economy where no waste is landfilled and reusable products are the rule, not the exception. It’s not a pipe dream. It’s what we owe our children and the planet.

Charlotte Roe, Berthoud

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