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 submitted December 2014. A final plan is due December 2015.

Background: 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 (BIP) 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.

IBCC and Roundtable Documents of the Colorado Water Plan, includes the documents from the 4 West slope roundtables: Colorado, Gunnison, Southwest and Yampa/White Basins.

The CWCB created a Colorado Water Plan website that contains critical documents and draft plans from the CWCB and the basin roundtables.