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Has the fat lady sung for Elephant Rock

Brief by Central Staff

Water – December 1997 – Colorado Central Magazine

Has the fat lady sung at Elephant Rock?

“Sometimes it has seemed that [Colorado Springs] Utilities has gone out of its way to infuriate other communities. For example, a few years ago, Colorado Springs announced plans to dam the Arkansas River [at Elephant Rock]…

“Folks in Chaffee County were less than thrilled with the potential destruction of the rafting industry and the conversion of a substantial part of the Arkansas River Valley into a stagnant lake. They were, to put it mildly, really pissed.

“Ironically, Colorado Springs had no serious intention of ever building the dam. It was just a bargaining chip…the city’s cynical maneuverings only reinforced the city’s reputation as a treacherous and unprincipled negotiator.” — The Insider, in the Sept. 24 Colorado Springs Independent.

Well, maybe some of the tension has eased. In November, Friends of the Arkansas, a river-protection group, signed an agreement with the Springs water department, after 1½ years of negotiation. Essentially, it says Friends will quit fighting, and the Springs will quit pushing for Elephant Rock, providing that the city gets its preferred options: increased storage rights in existing reservoirs like Pueblo, more transport capacity, and a new reservoir near the city.