Greg Felt kicks off 29th Arkansas River Basin Water Forum

Colorado Water Conservation Board Chairmen Greg Felt addresses attendees at the Arkansas River Basin Water Forum's Local Leaders Dinner (photo by Joe Stone).

Colorado Water Conservation Board Chairman Greg Felt was the featured speaker at the lead-off event of the 29th annual Arkansas River Basin Water Forum Tuesday in La Junta.

The invitation-only Local Leaders Dinner was attended by a diverse group of about 200 leaders in the water community, including state and local officials, farmers and ranchers, water managers and conservancy district representatives.

Felt, also a Chaffee County Commissioner and a member of two water conservancy district boards, spoke about the importance for people in leadership roles to identify and pursue goals that generate broad-based support, especially when political divisions are heightened.

He shared his experience from the Envision planning process and the ballot initiative that established a 0.25% sales tax to support local agriculture, wildfire mitigation and recreation management.

Felt emphasized the overwhelming support for local agriculture that Envision polls revealed in Chaffee County – 92% – and encouraged local leaders to tap into that kind of support in their own communities to accomplish beneficial projects and maintain community values.

The Arkansas River Basin Water Forum officially begins today with a keynote address by Colorado Department of Agriculture Commissioner Kate Greenberg, followed by various sessions with topics ranging from the Arkansas River Compact (between Colorado and Kansas) to irrigation modernization and water rights administration.

Joe Stone