Archive for Monday, August 29, 2011

Colorado officials mystified by Brownback’s letter on water deal

August 29, 2011


After years of negotiations, Colorado officials have agreed to drain a reservoir and send the water to Kansas in order to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court decision in a long-running dispute.

But as the plan was unfolding, Gov. Sam Brownback indicated he had problems with it.

In a recent letter to a Colorado resident, Brownback said the Bonny Reservoir in Yuma County, Colo., which abuts the border of northwest Kansas, is a valuable recreational area for many residents in surrounding communities. He added in the letter to Audrey Hase, who is trying to save the reservoir from being drained, “Because Colorado is a party to this compact, it is named in the lawsuit, but Kansas seeks no relief against Colorado at this time.”

The statement caused alarms to go off in Colorado.

Colorado State Engineer Dick Wolf said Brownback was off base.

“I’m not sure what the basis for that statement is,” Wolf said Monday. “We do know that it is wrong,” he said.

The release of water from Bonny Reservoir is necessary for Colorado to make up a water debt it owes Kansas and comply with the 2003 settlement of the 1942 Republican River Compact between Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas, Wolf said.

“We are taking steps to completely drain the reservoir,” he said.

And, he said, the release benefits Kansas.

Wolf said he spoke with Kansas water officials to make sure Brownback wasn’t signaling a change of plans. He said they told him the plan hasn’t changed.

Brownback’s office maintained that draining Bonny Reservoir isn’t part of the compact negotiations. Wolf, however, maintains it is the only plausible way to fulfill the compact.

“It was the best of our worst options,” he said.

Colorado will start draining Bonny Reservoir after Labor Day.


ShePrecedes 2 years, 7 months ago

Man, this is the one time when I actually agree with Brownback. He is finishing whatex- AG Karla Stoval set into motion.

And Steve Six's inactivity on this issue is the very reason why he didn't get my vote.

Leave it up int he air as to what he Brownback meant. Colorado owes us greatly, in massive ways, regarding water issues.

i never thought I would ever say this but YAY! Brownback!!


jaywalker 2 years, 7 months ago

"I just don't think that there is enough information here to form any kind of an opinion whatsoever."

Stated at the beginning of a loooong string. Worth repeating. So why the string?


Getaroom 2 years, 7 months ago

Could be another public prayer meeting is in order to settle this "not enough water to go around" issue and we can see how well that has worked out in Texas with Rick Perry at the helm of the Ark. Brownbackward is doing what any ego centered fundamentalist Christian politician would do who is operating from Biblical Law - as opposed to the Law of the Land. He is following the direct instructions GOD has given him specifically to govern Kansas. I mean who can argue with that? No wonder there are no more details than reported here, the next revelation has not been handed down to Pastor Sam. However, one can bet Michelle Bachmann knows what is going on with this whole water thing, let's call her and get this cleared up. I suppose it is those gays messing it all up again. The winter wheat is being punished for being genetically modified and we all know that is against the Bible, because messing with GOD'S creation is Sinful. I betcha Michelle's husband could council that DNA modification right outa that wheat and set it straight! WWSPD? Sarah Palin would say, "drain baby drain, what's yours is mine and what's mine is mine". Poor Sam always being thrown to the lions. Oh well, just proves you can't please everyone.
Two opposable thumbs up!!
And Snappy Poppy would say, "haven't I seen this post before somewhere"?


Cait McKnelly 2 years, 7 months ago

Nice little bumper sticker I saw. "I'm a Liberal Christian. I took Jesus at his Word."


2GenLtown 2 years, 7 months ago

Here we are worried over a little reservoir with a fellow US state while China drains our largest fresh water sources, the Great Lakes, daily.


Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 7 months ago

How soon people forget.

The reason Bonny Dam was built in the first place was for flood control, so that the flooding disaster that happened May 30, 1935 would not be repeated.

I grew up near Bonny Dam, and spent quite a lot of time wading in the wide and sandy river bottom that the flood had left in the river below where Bonny Dam now stands. I even found clams there, which I consider to be amazing today. Clams in Kansas? Yup, they were there.

And, I did spend quite a lot of time at Bonny Dam, it really was very nice.

And now, years later, the river below Bonny Dam has reverted to its natural state, very different than the sandy, shallow, and wide river that it was in the 1960s. That was not really that many years after the flood of 1935.

When I was growing up, there were plenty of people still living that remembered how terrible that flood was, and how many people were killed.

Beside St. Francis, Kansas, the course of the Republican river was changed so much that the concrete bridge over it was almost a quarter mile from the new course of the river after the flood.

We used to call that old bridge "the bridge over nothing." It has since been removed because it was rather dangerous, because it was so narrow. Only one car could pass in either direction. And, the sides of it were in the 1920s and 1930s style, so they presented a hazard for anyone trying to tow anything of any size.

Some bodies were never recovered, and a story went around town that someone had found a skull in the 1960s that was probably that of a victim of the flood, but there was no way to identify it, so it was given a private and proper burial.

The damage done in Kansas and Nebraska was in the millions of dollars, and a million dollars in 1935 was quite a lot of money. And, there were not a lot of buildings there at the time. Today, there are many that are within the flood plain. A similar flood today would result in the many tens of millions of dollars in damage.

And, the Native Americans living in that area at the time spoke of floods that were even worse, but they didn't happen very often.

So, to prevent another flood like that, Bonny Dam was constructed in the years between 1948 and 1951.

And now it's being drained. I certainly hope that the flood gates can be quickly closed if the need ever arises.

Among many others, this website is dedicated to preserving the history of the Republican River Flood of 1935:

For photos of the destruction:


4getabouit 2 years, 7 months ago

Apparently the Koch brothers haven't properly briefed little Sammy yet. Sammy need some guidance.


Lweinc1 2 years, 7 months ago

   Colorado officials clearly have an agenda that is not designed to benefit the People of Colorado.  With that information from the State of Kansas, Colorado has clear reason to delay the action of drainage.   *Colorado states the drainage will not place them in compliance with the compact order, if that is the case, why drain it?

   This is an outstanding example of why the general public has become frustrated with politics and "our" elected officials.   Representation of the People will clearly be lost with the State of Colorado moving forth with this "plan to fail".

Colorado has put Kansas up as the reason for the destruction of a valuable economic and recreational asset.  Kansas replied with a specific statement for the Governor that contradicts what Colorado has stated.  Colorado now looks for other reasons to continue forth with this devastating plan for compliance.

When confronted with a specific position statement from the highest state official (Governor of Kansas) the Colorado Governor does not reply, a department head does.  That shows respect for the office.  No wonder it is difficult for people to talk with each other.

Colorado is "mystified" only by the reaction of the People when they had to go public with this plan of destruction.    **Colorado Department of Natural Resources made the decision to drain Bonny Dam over 4- years ago. They were not expecting the amount of feed-back that has been generated during the last 6-months.   ***Additionally, it was stated: “the drainage of Bonny Dam is a step we hope will be looked upon in a favorable light by the courts if we have to appear in the future”.

Colorado needs to step-up and reconsider their decision to proceed with this action.  The anticipation that the water “may come back in a couple of years” has proven unrealistic in most Eastern Colorado and Western Kansas holding facilities.  The Smokey outside of Goodland, KS is an example of this type of thinking.  It has not come back.  Mountain snowpack does not affect the water levels in Eastern Colorado.

Colorado can take a lead in making an impact to the positive side of The People instead of "politics as usual”. Colorado can “mystify” us all by delaying an action doing something that is in the interest of “all” The People.

  • / /*: Alexandra Davis, Assistant Director CDNR statements made during public meeting Burlington, CO March 2011

jayhawxrok 2 years, 7 months ago

Brownback is an idiot.

Southside, shove your religious nonsense, it has nothing to do with this case and we in America are not your Taliban subjects so just get the Hell over it. The earth is 4.5 bilion years old, it's not flat, the sun doesn't orbit the earth and you are a certifiable loon.


thebcman 2 years, 7 months ago

I think it's time we all had some warm, buttery biscuits.


nut_case 2 years, 7 months ago

So let me see if I have this straight:

2003 Kansas: Colorado, you owe us water, drain your lake now!

2003 Colorado: NO!

2003 Kansas: Then we'll sue! (We know all about suing for water, just google baker wetlands)

[a lawsuit this ensues]

2004 LJW posters: Don't drain our swamp! 2005 LJW posters: Don't drain our swamp! 2006 LJW posters: Don't drain our swamp! 2007 LJW posters: Don't drain our swamp! 2008 LJW posters: Don't drain our swamp! 2009 LJW posters: Don't drain our swamp! 2010 LJW posters: Don't drain our swamp! 2011 LJW posters: Don't drain our swamp!

2011 Supreme court: Colorado, you owe Kansas water, drain Bonny Reservoir and send the water to Kansas.

2011 Sam Brownback: The lake represents a valuable economic and recreation resource where it is, we aren't negotiating for you to drain it.

2011 Colorado: Yes we are and you can't stop us!

2011 LJW poster: Brownback is stupid. Drain the lake! Drain the lake! Drain the lake! Drain the lake! Drain the lake! Drain the lake! Drain the lake! Drain the lake!

Did I accidentally get transported to Bizarro world where everything is reversed?!?


RidgeRunner 2 years, 7 months ago

She says her claims have leverage, especially after a written response she received from Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback in July.

"We know that many Kansans and other citizens regret the draining of Bonny, which has served as a valuable recreational area for many residents of Northwest Kansas and surrounding communities for decades," Brownback wrote Hase. "Because Colorado is a party to this compact, it is a named party in the lawsuit, but Kansas seeks no relief against Colorado at this time."


Paul R Getto 2 years, 7 months ago

It's not 'dirty tricks.' It's called voting. I stay registered as a republican for two reasons: 1. There are rarely any democratic primaries in August; 2. It usually doesn't work out, but at least I can participate in trying to pick off the strangest R who is running on the August ballot. In Kansas, most of those who win the primaries win the general as there is not much competition for most offices. Being registered has other advantages. I get lots of nice mail from the R's.


Cait McKnelly 2 years, 7 months ago

One of the ideas being booted around is one that is frequently done by the GOP (most recently, that I know of, in Wisconsin). That idea is for Democrats to change their "official" affiliation from Democrat to Republican so they can vote in the primaries. It's hoped that Sandy Praeger will agree to be drafted to run against BB in the primary. She has name recognition to equal BB, a long career in state government and she's a moderate Republican. Democrats haven't the chance of a snowball in Hades of getting a Democrat elected to the state house. At the very least we can influence just who goes there. I'm sure the GOP will cry foul and "dirty tricks" if this comes about but it's a widely accepted way of influencing elections that you have no other way to affect and it's one that the GOP has employed multiple times. It's also perfectly legal. So let's get out there and do some vote influencing!


autie 2 years, 7 months ago

you know, he even uses the middle name repeatedly, just like another former Nancyboy.


blindrabbit 2 years, 7 months ago

rockchalk1977: Since the departure of NancyBoy, the sage from Linwood, it seems like you have taken up the drumbeat of countering any negative GOP news with your continuous drivel about President Obama. Regardless about your feelings about the President, your defense of the many foibles of your dear GOP electeds make us wonder about your ability to even come close to rationale thought.


Kate Rogge 2 years, 7 months ago

Governor Brownback won, in large part, because Democrats didn't have a stronger candidate and a better financed campaign. I don't like Governor Brownback's policies and decisions, but unless we figure out how to field a stronger challenger to him in the next gubernatorial election and vote him out of office, we'll continue to have him in this state and standing on our necks until he works his way back to Washington, D.C. He doesn't have to resign as governor to run for president.


booklover2 2 years, 7 months ago

Welcome to our world Colorado!


lawslady 2 years, 7 months ago

Question: What is the difference between a jihadist wanting to kill anyone who does not believe in their faith and a radical Christian who wants to fire, impoverish, and marginalize those who do not believe (and dress) as they wish? Answer: Not much.

LJW, if you dig around a little, you may uncover the DRESS CODE that the Brownshirt regime wants to impose on WOMEN who work for the state.....


Paul R Getto 2 years, 7 months ago

"It's interesting to me that even in Republican political strongholds I am seeing more and more mutterings of anti-Brownback sentiment." === Mutterings don't count; voting does. I hope you are right, but am waiting for the 800,000+ who never showed up last time to vote. Next August will be critical. Will the usual 18% or so show up again? Even Douglas county, where there is some attention paid to these matters, has a dismal record for showing up at the polls.


Cait McKnelly 2 years, 7 months ago

Brownback may not realize it but, in the very act of writing that letter, he violated Colorado's right of state sovereignty. We will be very lucky not to have another federal lawsuit, this time from our neighboring state. (I doubt that will happen but it certainly was a major political gaffe.) Pywacket made a point earlier; Brownback is clearly out of his depth. His learning curve, in terms of state political law, has clearly been steeper than what he or anyone else anticipated. It's interesting to me that even in Republican political strongholds I am seeing more and more mutterings of anti-Brownback sentiment. This is beginning to concern the Republican legislators in those areas and should be concerning the state Republican party (if it's not already) as state legislators are becoming concerned that the polls will reflect "Brownback backlash" come election time. To use a phrase I said before; I guess we'll see.


Timothy Eugene 2 years, 7 months ago

This is a typical news story on the LJW. There is extremely little information. One sentence from a letter Brownback wrote someone obviously doesn't tell the whole story. But you accomplished what you wanted, you got the liberal freakazoid zombies foaming at the mouth wanting blood. There are enough anti-Christian comments on this feed to make a muslim fanatic proud. Please, actually learn to do some research, check your sources, double-check your research, vet your sources, THEN write the story. THAT is good journalism.


drake 2 years, 7 months ago

Why is it that any news story that puts our Governor in a bad light is written by none other that Scott Rothschild? And why is it that the reporting is always one sided without any attempt at getting the whole story? You're preachin' to the choir Scott and you got 'em extra frothy this mornin'.


kevingray 2 years, 7 months ago

The point of the story simple. The mystification angle. Our governor continually acts without explanation, even going against his own party. Now, if he had offered some reasoning....


Paul R Getto 2 years, 7 months ago

" Having established the first day of creation as Sunday 23 October 4004 BC, by the arguments set forth in the passage below, Ussher calculated the dates of other biblical events, concluding, for example, that Adam and Eve were driven from Paradise on Monday 10 November 4004 BC, and that the ark touched down on Mt Ararat on 5 May 2348 BC `on a Wednesday'. ===Be precise, folks. See Bishop Ussher for details.


sad_lawrencian 2 years, 7 months ago

This is not the first, and certainly not the last, time Gov. Brownback will do something that mystifies everyone. (Biggest mystery so far: how he got elected to the Senate...)


SouthSide 2 years, 7 months ago

The Bible is clear that God created the universe in 4,004 BC, period.


Gandalf 2 years, 7 months ago

Let's see brownie does not want CO water, but does want the polution from the electric plant for CO electricity. Which will also use a lot of water. Sums it up for me!


Kookamooka 2 years, 7 months ago

What is Brownback smoking? He's sick.


coloradoan 2 years, 7 months ago

Normally I cannot agree with the Gov, but there are some basic issues here that need to be addressed. Water, economically, is only as good as its timing and location. If it can be delivered to farmers when they need to irrigate, and to municipalities when the river is otherwise too low, then it could have value.

Right now, however, how many farmers in the Republican River watershed in Kansas will be irrigating in the fall and winter? Is there a lot of irrigated winter wheat up there that I'm not aware of? Similarly, are river levels in danger of falling to levels such that municipalities cannot access it for water supplies? It seems that the reservoirs can deliver enough (at least downstream from Milford).

Basically, if all Colorado is doing is meeting the numerical target of the decree by flushing the water to us at a time and in a manner that does not provide benefits to Kansas, I might just have to concur with the Gov. here. It may work for Colorado, because then they will have the next winter to replenish Bonny Reservoir before they need to irrigate? But that doesn't mean it is in Kansas' interests. More facts are needed here; how about it LJW?


riverdrifter 2 years, 7 months ago

More (electoral college) votes in Colorado than in Kansas.


tomatogrower 2 years, 7 months ago

"“We are taking steps to completely drain the reservoir,” he said.

And, he said, the release benefits Kansas."

Oh well, there's the catch. Brownback has no desire to benefit Kansas.


Daffy 2 years, 7 months ago

They are just used to "patsys" being in charge of Kansas.


billbodiggens 2 years, 7 months ago

send back the grant money.... send back the water..... what in the heck is this man doing.?????????????????????? Does he have no care for anyone in this State???? I do not know how to classify this guy. Is he a fool or does he have an extreme messianic complex that makes him think he is the savior of the world and only is abiding his time in the state house with a here-to-fore undisclosed master plan?. this is water that Kansas farmers dearly need. But, apparently he would rather have it for people to go sking. I really do not think there any any words to explain this action except to say that he has completely abandoned Kansas.


Joe Hyde 2 years, 7 months ago

"... but Kansas seeks no relief against Colorado at this time,” says Gov. Brownback.

Well, I think the best course is to set a mid-point between totally draining the lake in Colorado and us not accepting any of that lake's water at this time.

If in fact it has been calculated and agreed upon that draining that entire lake will satisfy Colorado's "water debt" to Kansas, then this works against Kansas. That's because a sudden, single event drainout allows most of the lake's water to flow through -- repeat, through -- basically in one shot. Like a storm surge? This denies Kansans the time needed to institute or update the means needed to fully benefit from the water.

Whereas if an amount of water equivalent to the lake's volume is released over a much longer period of time the result for Kansas will be a deeper and wider saturation of the river floodplain's groundwater, not to mention a modest increase in surface water volume for irrigation, wildlife improvement and various kinds of river recreation.

Besides, where's the sense in doing something so drastic as totally draining a huge lake? All this does is damage the local economy in part of Colorado. It would be better to make Colorado pay off its total water debt gradually, over a much longer period of time. In other words, reverse the method Colorado used when intercepting and denying our rightful amount of surface runoff in the first place.


JM Andy 2 years, 7 months ago

This nutjob's audacity is astounding. He has no respect for anyone or anything that is not in line with his personal agenda. I still cannot believe we elected this Machiavellian SOB to run our state. IMPEACH NOW!


kansanjayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

Interesting that the article did not get a response from the governor's office?


dragonwagon2 2 years, 7 months ago

Brownbackasswards rides again. How embarrassing!


ResQd 2 years, 7 months ago

"Colorado State Engineer Dick Wolf said Brownback was off base." Off base, he's been off base since he was elected :(


yourworstnightmare 2 years, 7 months ago

What a maroon.

Does brownback not understand the ruling?

Or is he making some sort of tea party anti government anti courts statement?

Either way he is a doofus and an embarrassment.


Bob Forer 2 years, 7 months ago

So let me get this straight. Colorado and Nebraska have been cheating Kansas out of water since 1943. Eight years ago Kansas won a law suit in the United States Supreme Court. Since that decision the parties have been negotiating for eight years in an attempt figure out a way for Colorado to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court's judgment in our favor, which basically entails paying back Kansas for the water which was stolen from us. Colorado recently conceded that the only way this could accomplished would be to drain a huge lake and divert that water to Kansas.

And Brownback is saying, "No, we don't want the water that is legally due us."

All I can say is WTF??????????????

Its not your water, Brownback. It belongs to the citizens of the State of Kansas. And you are our leade??????? Shameful and pathetic. Not to mention absolutely absurd.


pace 2 years, 7 months ago

Lets wait, before we decide he is just dumber than snot, Look at who applauds Brownback"s move. We will find who the "change" benefits. Maybe the Koch brothers like to drive by their and see a lake on their way to cash their taxmoney for billionaire checks.


edjayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

WHat will our kooky Governor be up to next?


Bob_Keeshan 2 years, 7 months ago

You've got to be truly a sheep to defend this gaffe.

Brownback's attorneys clearly decided to issue their own opinion on this long standing litigation in order to make sure Il Marrone did not appear unfavorably to a bunch of folks in Colorado.

I wonder how the Kansas farmers who rely on the Republican River feel about such tripe.

A tremendous gaffe from a Governor, the type of thing that would lead to legislative hearings had it been committed by the previous administration.


riverdrifter 2 years, 7 months ago

Here's more on it:

Colorado has stolen water from Kansas for decades in violation of the compact and the courts agree. Bonnie reservoir is about 2 miles long and a little over a half mile wide and is now very low. Maybe Sam will go out there and walk on it and make it all good.


tolawdjk 2 years, 7 months ago

Do we know he actually wrote it? What color was the crayon?


bobberboy 2 years, 7 months ago

we here in the State of Kansas that did'nt vote for Mr. Brownback can understand very well how he could be off base - way off base !! He was a dip as a senator and now he's a dip as gov.


Jan Rolls 2 years, 7 months ago

Sam the sham doesn't know jack and the advisors he paid big money to don't know jack. This idiot can find time to write a personal response to someone out of state while he sends form letters to kansans. Idiot is too kind a word.


Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 7 months ago

Colorado officials?????? I think the whole state of Kansas is mystified at how this facist Jesus freak got elected to the office of governer.


ivalueamerica 2 years, 7 months ago

This guy is more stupid and crazy than Joan Finney


RodBruce 2 years, 7 months ago

I have to say that the next election can't come quickly enough. What idiots thought this clown would make a good governor? This guy is trying to build his powerbase for a presidential run on the backs of those us in Kansas. His policies continually seem to focus only on satisfying the most vocal minority in Kansas - a group of "Tea Party-like" people that, in my experience, do NOT represent Kansas!


1southernjayhawk 2 years, 7 months ago

I just don't think that there is enough information here to form any kind of an opinion whatsoever.


Jake Esau 2 years, 7 months ago

A lot of Brownback's actions mystify a lot of people...


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