COLORADO’S WATER PLAN
THE CHALLENGE Water is essential to Colorado’s quality of life and economy, yet we face an uncertain future. This is due to 1) increasing gaps between water supplies and water demands; 2) the trend of permanent buying and drying of productive agricultural lands in order to meet growing municipal demands, and 3) greater uncertainty due to drought, climate change, and more. If we don’t take responsible action now the consequences will be great. Hundreds of thousands of acres of Colorado’s most productive farm and ranch lands will dry up, our cities and towns will have insufficient water, wildfire response will become more difficult, and the environmental health of our watersheds will be increasingly threatened.
THE OPPORTUNITY Governor Hickenlooper issued an Executive Order in May 2013 directing the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) to develop Colorado’s Water Plan. Creation of this plan is a grassroots effort drawing upon eight years of unprecedented work, dialogue, and consensus-building that water leaders from across the state have engaged in through the Interbasin Compact Committee (IBCC) and Basin Roundtable process. Colorado’s Water Plan will be aligned with our state’s water values: vibrant and sustainable cities, viable and productive agriculture, a robust skiing, recreation and tourism industry, and a thriving environment that includes healthy watersheds, rivers, streams, and wildlife.
HOW WILL IT BE DEVELOPED? Colorado’s Water Plan is a grassroots effort. Each Basin Roundtable will develop its own plan. These Basin Implementation Plans (BIPs) will identify the specific challenges to a secure water future that each basin faces, the strategies it will pursue to address those challenges, and the projects and methods that the basin may implement to meet its water needs. These BIPs will then be incorporated into Colorado’s Water Plan. The IBCC will continue to facilitate dialogue across basins and continue its work of refining and adding to the list of action items around which there is consensus, including a thorough examination of options for new water supply. The CWCB is tasked with drafting the plan. To do so, it will be reviewing and combining technical information and policy recommendations, incorporating the work of the IBCC and Basin Roundtables, and conducting any additional technical analysis needed.
JOIN THE DISCUSSION! Next Thursday (2/13) at the Steamboat Community Center from 6-8pm!