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Thread summary:

Pueblo: conserving, water problems, online article, new arrivals, water taps, expensive commodity

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Old 07-04-2007, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Colorado
431 posts, read 2,502,670 times
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Today, July 4, in the Pueblo paper----www.pueblochieftain.com--in the Metro section, "Why Save Water", is a good explanation as to the problem. Conserving is not going to work by itself for Colorado. Anyway, I thought maybe new arrivals, old arrivals, natives etc would maybe understand the problem better if they read this article. Boulder put a cap on building. In my opinion, altho I am not a Liberal as in Boulder, I think it still a good idea for all the state. Not to keep people out as some seem to think we natives and old transplants want. But to preserve what we still have now before it is all gone. There will still be a turn over in people, we will leave for jobs, we die, etc. But to continue to grow where the water is limited is just fool hardy to me. In one place on these forums. A person said it was too simple to just stop selling water taps. Why does everything have to complex to work? It seems to have worked for Boulder, altho highly criticized. And of coarse housing will be an expensive commodity. Things in high demand usually are.
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Old 07-04-2007, 10:42 AM
 
10,875 posts, read 41,221,323 times
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Simple solutions to the growth problems aren't necessarily ... simple.

I was in Boulder when the first cries to limit growth there started in the mid to late 1960's. I recall that Paul Danish, a student with a political bent (if I can be so gentle about his views ....) was publishing in the CU student paper about the problems that excessive/unrestricted growth was causing Boulder back then. The Boulder Daily Camera then picked up the same cry, and they were advocating limiting the number of building permits issued each year. (Paul did go on to become a City Council member, too)

Keep in mind that Boulder was a small college town then with an ever-larger annual student (temporary) population ... which was staying there permanently in increasing numbers; that placed increasing demands on housing and services in Boulder.

My rent for a nominal "studio apartment" then on the hill was $30/month. In 1967 it doubled, then doubled again the next year. Fortunately, I had purchased a $30,000 6bd/4ba house with a full finished basement on the hill from a departing (drafted) graduate. I sold that house for $100K a few years later (ah, if I had only known what the growth was going to do to that value, but I had had my fill of East Berkeley, ah ... Boulder).

As one would expect, the limiting of "supply" made Boulder far more expensive and demand more exclusive than anyone could have imagined. Prices shot up dramatically, and the prevailing extreme liberally dominated politics served to further control the policies and growth for the financially able or people already there.

Boulder bought up a lot of ground for "open spaces", effectively giving the use of large portions of land to essentially private enjoyment; in net effect, a property fronting on the remote areas of an open space had virtually private use and enjoyment of that land while "only" having to buy their parcel. Of course, those parcels became quite expensive, too. But the people who didn't have the views or the front door access got to pay for the "open space" lands, too, at the same tax rate as the privileged few. Sure, they're public lands, but there's a big difference between the utility of the open space when it's on your doorstep vs having to commute some distance away to it. The key issue is that Boulder made sure that substantial parcels of land within it's borders could not be developed.

The "open space" lands also enabled a few of Boulder's finest citizens to donate parcels for exceptional tax breaks.

Limiting water taps has already been part of the growth limiting scheme in effect in Boulder. The cost of a new water/sewer tap is rather expensive, so that again limits who can afford to build in Boulder.

Boulder's policies have had a negative impact upon certain businesses. Many have left the area due to the high costs of locating there, or the high cost of living for their employees.

So ... my point of this "ramble" in response to Nadine's comment that "of coarse (sic) housing will be an expensive commodity. Things in high demand usually are." is that the "high demand" and excessively high housing cost in Boulder has been a completely artificial creation of the powers that be going back to 1967. That's why Niwot, Erie, Longmont ... and a whole host of other little outlying towns around Boulder had much more reasonable costs for many years.
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Old 07-04-2007, 10:58 AM
 
2,755 posts, read 11,523,867 times
Reputation: 1457
It's hard to say whether the Danish plan alone is responsible for Boulder's high housing prices, and if a Danish plan would cause the same effect in other places, if implemented. Boulder also enjoys outstanding name recognition and fame, particularly on the coasts. Even before the Danish plan, Boulder commanded a hefty price premium over Longmont. They used to talk about the "thousand-dollar-mile" -- meaning that every mile toward Boulder from Longmont, you had to spend $1000.00 in increased housing value (back when $1000.00 was really a lot of money.) In fact, Boulder may be today as well known than Denver, and thousands relocate to Colorado specifically to live in Boulder, and nowhere else. It may not be a directly applicable example.

The real question is whether less fashionable locales, like, say, Greeley or Pueblo would see a huge spike in values if they implemented their own "Danish Plan." I'm thinking not so much. With markets like Greeley in a self-created housing meltdown (approaching double-digit price drops), a Danish-like plan might actually help things out a bit, while increasing the quality of life there.
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Old 07-04-2007, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Colorado
431 posts, read 2,502,670 times
Reputation: 212
I did not start this thread as an argument how to save what Colorado has and what will be given up in business, money, money money, grow grow grow etc. There is of coarse a great gap in opinions and that has been chewed on to distraction on this forum. My mistake was to give mine. I take back my opinion. I thought the article as to the problems of just conserving was very informative to all, those interested in living here , those that did , those that do, as well as those that get water from Colorado. Not to chew the same fat again. Did anyone read the article? Or did they just react to the opinion I stated, which I should have kept my big mouth shut!!!

Last edited by Nadine; 07-04-2007 at 11:38 AM.. Reason: My cat can't spell
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Old 07-04-2007, 12:15 PM
 
2,755 posts, read 11,523,867 times
Reputation: 1457
I read the article. It's an interesting dilemma -- water conservation may simply act as an enabler for sprawl, ultimately leading to more resource usage in the future.

I think the problem with that theory is that we're assuming that municipal planners are smart enough to put the brakes on growth as water supplies run out. I'm not so sure that planners are that foresighted. What's to stop a renegade municipality from growing past its water supplies and simply forcing the residents to live with consequences? As far as I can tell, nothing.
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Old 07-04-2007, 12:39 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,125,069 times
Reputation: 9066
Nadine, don't back off from expressing your opinion because somebody might find it uncomfortable. A good healthy debate about water in Colorado is no bad thing. The fact is that Colorado is ALREADY running out of water--the only question is how long it will be before it ends our unsustainable sprawling lifestyle.

Here's the succession of how the water "problem" will progress:

1. Build all kinds of reservoirs and diversions to try to supply the demand. Most of the practical ones have already been built.

2. Dry up irrigated farms, ranches, and wetlands to supply suburban irrigation needs. Been doing that for over 30 years--starting to run short on places to do that.

3. Start enforcing water metering, watering restrictions, and water conservation upon existing suburban and urban water users. Also underway, though begrudingly, for a few years.

4. Try all kinds of expensive, exotic, and possibly even dangerous techniques such as water recycling, acquifer recharging, weather modification, etc. to try to preserve or extend depleting water supplies.

5. Imposition of "temporary" moratoriums on building permits, etc. When that doesn't work (and it won't), make them permanent.

6. Finally admit that the water supply of the state is insufficient for its population. Government will then have to make the painful decision about how to "ration" totally inadequate water supplies, including who won't get any at all.

7. Embittered Coloradans, some forced to leave their (now worthless) homes, ask, "How in the hell did this happen, and why didn't anyone do anything to prevent it?" Everyone points fingers at each other, but no one comes out and says, "It's because we couldn't admit that we overpopulated a place beyond what it could sustain because not one of us would admit to ourselves that WE were part of the problem."

PS--If it's any consolation, Arizona will probably get there first. Of course, their first "solution" to their unsustainable water situation will be, along with California, to try and grab a bigger share of Colorado River water--from a river basin that is already hopelessly overappropriated. That will become a battle between the "growth lovers" in the upper and lower Colorado River Basin states to see who can get the biggest gulp of water out of a nearly empty cup. That ought to be a real brawl.
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Old 07-04-2007, 01:27 PM
 
10,875 posts, read 41,221,323 times
Reputation: 14031
I don't agree that "it's hard to say that the Danish plan is responsible" etc, etc. for Boulder's high housing prices.

The effect in the 1960's was dramatic and immediate for those of us living there at the time. The cause and effect was absolutely linked. Simple FACT. Government created a scarcity of an otherwise available item.

You could look at Niwot, for example ... still close by the foothills ... which did not experience the effect. Or Erie, which is straddled by the Boulder county line; literally, properties just over the county line into Weld county were historically much less than a comparable property a few hundred yards away, but over the county line into Boulder county. (I know this one firsthand, too ... having bought acreage just off Hwy 52 at CR 5 in Weld ... for much less money than a similar property just over the county line)

Would a Danish type plan affect a Greeley or Pueblo? In time, yes, IMO. Create a scarcity and you'll ultimately create a demand/value rise. Those places just happen to be going through other cycles right now ... but, in time, they'll be in the limelight again compared to other portions of the country as population demands increase throughout the country. It's only a matter of time; We had family friends when I was very young buy a large tract of land outside of a place that ultimately became known as Scottsdale. At the time, it was nothing but a place for them to go rockhounding and camping out in the desert. A little bit of water development talk made them rather wealthy; when the water actually came through, they became even more wealthy.
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Old 07-04-2007, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Colorado
431 posts, read 2,502,670 times
Reputation: 212
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
Nadine, don't back off from expressing your opinion because somebody might find it uncomfortable. A good healthy debate about water in Colorado is no bad thing. The fact is that Colorado is ALREADY running out of water--the only question is how long it will be before it ends our unsustainable sprawling lifestyle.

Here's the succession of how the water "problem" will progress:

1. Build all kinds of reservoirs and diversions to try to supply the demand. Most of the practical ones have already been built.

2. Dry up irrigated farms, ranches, and wetlands to supply suburban irrigation needs. Been doing that for over 30 years--starting to run short on places to do that.

3. Start enforcing water metering, watering restrictions, and water conservation upon existing suburban and urban water users. Also underway, though begrudingly, for a few years.

4. Try all kinds of expensive, exotic, and possibly even dangerous techniques such as water recycling, acquifer recharging, weather modification, etc. to try to preserve or extend depleting water supplies.

5. Imposition of "temporary" moratoriums on building permits, etc. When that doesn't work (and it won't), make them permanent.

6. Finally admit that the water supply of the state is insufficient for its population. Government will then have to make the painful decision about how to "ration" totally inadequate water supplies, including who won't get any at all.

7. Embittered Coloradans, some forced to leave their (now worthless) homes, ask, "How in the hell did this happen, and why didn't anyone do anything to prevent it?" Everyone points fingers at each other, but no one comes out and says, "It's because we couldn't admit that we overpopulated a place beyond what it could sustain because not one of us would admit to ourselves that WE were part of the problem."

PS--If it's any consolation, Arizona will probably get there first. Of course, their first "solution" to their unsustainable water situation will be, along with California, to try and grab a bigger share of Colorado River water--from a river basin that is already hopelessly overappropriated. That will become a battle between the "growth lovers" in the upper and lower Colorado River Basin states to see who can get the biggest gulp of water out of a nearly empty cup. That ought to be a real brawl.
Hey, I am not backing off by no means. I just wanted to have people see the article. But since that got out of hand. I will stick by what I said. It makes me so sad to see farms and ranches that had crops, cattle etc to change from green to nasty brown with buildings all abandoned and falling down. Not all water grabbers bought just water. When it was not for sale, they bought the whole ranch, farm at outrages prices, that a poor farmer could not refuse. Strip it of it's water and let it sit. Arvada has done that to 2 I know of in eastern Colorado. If I know of 2, I am sure there are more by more metropolitan areas. Some where, some time something has got to give before we are like China and their poputaltion problem.
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Old 07-04-2007, 02:33 PM
 
Location: Carefree Arizona
127 posts, read 392,252 times
Reputation: 80
[quote=jazzlover;1002884]

PS--If it's any consolation, Arizona will probably get there first. Of course, their first "solution" to their unsustainable water situation will be, along with California, to try and grab a bigger share of Colorado River water--from a river basin that is already hopelessly overappropriated.

I think you might check that stat jazzlover. Out of all the southwestern states Arizona has been diligent in legally ensuring 100 plus year water supplies. I would even go as far to say they are doing better than Colorado. The Hopi and Hohokam Indians were finding ways to divert water from the Colorado hundreds of thousands of years ago.
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Old 07-04-2007, 02:42 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,125,069 times
Reputation: 9066
God bless you, Nadine, for sticking to your guns. And, the number of farms and ranches bought to divert their water to Front Range suburbia is frightening.

You have to wonder how "happy" all those suburban dwellers are going to be when there is no water for their non-native landscaping, no gas for their 12 mpg SUV so they can go to the mountains or even to get to work (if they still have work), and--maybe--not enough food on the table for their family.

The bumper sticker has it right--"No Farms, No Food."
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