Why did the state of Colorado create Colorado’s Water Plan?
Through the work of the Statewide Water Supply Initiative (SWSI), the Interbasin Compact Committee (IBCC), and the Basin Roundtables (BRTs) it was learned that our current statewide water trajectory is neither desirable nor sustainable. We know that the state must take a hard look at Colorado’s future water needs as a whole and plan for how they will be addressed. Building on a decade of grass-roots civic engagement, Colorado’s Water Plan is able to showcase solutions with broad support that strategically address Colorado’s most difficult water challenges.
Learn more by visiting the Plan’s “Frequently Asked Questions” webpage.
In May 2013, Governor John Hickenlooper issued an executive order that Colorado create its first water plan in order that the state find balanced water supply solutions as population grows. In the absence of a plan, the status quo is that municipal utilities will continue to buy and dry irrigated agricultural lands and convert the water rights to urban use. The first draft was completed in December 2014. A final plan is due December 2015.
In 2005 in the wake of extreme drought – a drought that has become long term – the Colorado General Assembly passed the Colorado Water for the 21st Century Act. This created a “roundtable” grassroots process for stakeholders and citizens in nine basins to learn about their individual needs and to propose solutions, both for consumptive and environmental/recreational needs. The act also created the Interbasin Compact Committee to explore cooperative actions among the basins. The drought, climate change and competing uses for a scarce resource underlie the necessity of the plan.
The executive order spurred the nine Roundtables, the Interbasin Compact Committee and the Colorado Water Conservation Board to action.
Each basin roundtable has created a Basin Implementation Plan to examine individual needs. The CWCB has written nine chapters that gives overview of the local and statewide issues. It also contains goals and action items.
The CWCB created a Colorado Water Plan website that contains critical documents and draft plans from the CWCB and the basin roundtables.
Transmountain diversion framework endorsed by water planners
by Brent Gardner-Smith
A milestone in state water planning was reached Tuesday as members of the state’s Interbasin Compact Committee unanimously endorsed the latest version of a “conceptual framework” to guide discussions between East and West Slope interests about any new transmountain diversion.
“It’s not perfect, but I think we’re in general agreement this is a good starting point, and if ever there is a transmountain diversion, there will be, no doubt, additional negotiations,” said John Stulp, chairman of the IBCC.
Today in Colorado, between 450,000 and 600,000 acre-feet of water is diverted each year from the West Slope to the more populous East Slope.
The latest draft of the framework, tweaked Tuesday regarding statewide water conservation goals, will now be forwarded to the Colorado Water Conservation Board for inclusion in the final Colorado Water Plan, which is to be delivered to Gov. John Hickenlooper by Dec. 10.