Colorado Voters Sink Referendum A

Bid for $2 Billion in Water Bonds Drowns at Polls

Despite the lingering drought, Colorado voters soundly rejected Referendum A, a controversial water-financing measure, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. Even the states most water-deprived counties rejected the proposal.

Opponents of the referendum from the water-rich Western Slope accusing Front Range cities and developers of using the measure to craft another big water grab.

The measure would have given the state a much larger role in water development by giving the state the authority to issue up to $2 billion in bond debt to fund new water projects. Governor Bill Owens would have had a say in the seletion of which products were to be developed, but control of the program would have gone to the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

Proponents said the bill could have provided much-needed water to Colorado's draught-stricken and water-starved population. However, critics of the plan said it could damage the state's mountain watersheds and fuel runaway growth.

"Tonight's vote shows that we have yet to reach a consensus (on water)," Owens said.

Rocky Mountain News

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