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Hotchkiss Inspires Sen. Michael Bennet's New Rural Infrastructure Bill

Gavin Dahl

On Tuesday, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet introduced new legislation he’s calling The RESILIENT Act that is designed to dramatically improve how rural communities can secure federal infrastructure funding to develop new projects. 


For Sen. Bennet, this is a signature piece of legislation. 

He counts among the bill’s supporters the Colorado Rural Water Association, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, and the Colorado Municipal League. 


Two weeks ago, Sen. Bennet visited the Leroux Creek Overlook Siphon along the Fire Mountain Canal in Hotchkiss to learn more about the recently-completed project to enclose 5 miles of ditch water in a pipeline, giving farmers the option to pressurize their irrigation, conserving water overall by reducing seepage and evaporation, while helping address salinity problems that cause crop losses downstream. 


Attendees of the fact-finding visit included Dave Kanzer, deputy chief engineer for the Colorado River District, farmer Tom Kay, and Steve Fletcher, the manager of Fire Mountain Canal. Their voices are included in this story. 



Gavin Dahl is a writer and producer with a passion for community media. He worked for KVNF from July 2020 to July 2022. He won awards and recognition for his KVNF reporting from the Colorado Broadcasters Association and Society of Professional Journalists. His writing has been published by The Montrose Press, The Sopris Sun, Boulder Weekly, Raw Story, Radio Survivor, Boise Weekly, and The Austin American-Statesman. He graduated from The Evergreen State College with a BA in media production and community organizing.