Colorado Attorney Flips On Water Rights Protection

Condemning recent actions taken by Colorado's Attorney General, lawmakers are standing up to protect Western Slope water rights.

A 2003 agreement between the federal government and water users in the Gunnison River Basin provided protection for water rights, some that have been in place since the late 1800's.

But in the past week Attorney General John Suthers suddenly objected to the water right protections.

The attorney general's actions could eventually result in a federal water grab, particularly in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison's reserved water rights.

Western Slope lawmakers are banding together to address Governor Bill Ritter, saying the state government is to serve the people, not the federal government.

"It's unusual that the attorney general is advocating on behalf of the federal government for a grab of water that's Colorado's," Grand Junction Representative Steve King said.

King adds that allowing the federal government to reconfigure its water rights in the Gunnison River Basin could potentially affect the rights along the Colorado River as well.