Roundtable Update

News and information related to the Southwest Basin Roundtable, plus IBCC.

Colorado Water Plan

The first draft of Colorado’s new water plan offered plenty of background information about the state’s water, but didn’t say exactly what can be done to avoid a looming water-supply gap. By 2050, the state could be short billions of gallons per year. Lawrence MacDonnell, a natural resources law professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, led an academic review team that issued a report on the Draft Colorado Water Plan, finding that it offers little in the way of specifics.

Southwest Basin Roundtable Meeting

At their January 14th Southwest Basin Roundtable (SBR) meeting, chair Mike Preston reported the fund balance is approximately $606,000. In addition to administrative items, there was discussion of the seven points of: the “draft conceptual agreement” regarding transmountain diversions; alternative water sources to meet future east slope urban water demands that should be included in the SBR Basin Implementation Plan (BIP), as well as a recommendation that the CWCB also consider alternatives language; lawn conservation policies; and municipal conservation versus agricultural efficiency. The SBR also heard a conceptual proposal from Trout Unlimited for $15,000 in support of the development of a cold-water-fisheries adaptive management plan on the Upper Dolores River. The management plan would identify the appropriate places to invest limited conservation dollars and time and facilitate coordination between stakeholders. Project partners include the U.S. Forest Service and Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Roundtable members made recommendations and asked questions. In the end there was consensus to recommend that a full application be submitted for consideration.

West Slope Roundtables Meeting

A West Slope roundtable meeting was conducted in mid-December in Grand Junction. There were about 75 members of the four roundtables, plus another 75 or so members of the public and Colorado’s professional water community, that discussed and heard a number of topics related to the Colorado Water Plan. One of the items on the agenda was the draft seven-point framework developed by the Interbasin Compact Committee (IBCC) that lays out conditions for future discussions on the potential new trans-mountain diversion (TMD) in Colorado. Those seven points include:

Southwest Basin Roundtable Meeting

At their November 12th Southwest Basin Roundtable (SBR) meeting, chair Mike Preston reported the fund balance is $655,916. There was then extensive discussion of the Colorado Water Plan and participants were directed to the draft plan that is now available online on the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) website ( In addition, CWCB staff, Craig Godbout directed members to a document entitled Colorado’s Water Plan: Western Slope Implementation and Themes drafted by James Eklund, CWCB director, and Brent Newman. The document outlines 10 areas of concerns expressed by the Western Slope and how those are addressed in the plan. A summary of those areas are provided on the CWCB website.

Southwest Basin Roundtable BIP Available for Review

The Southwest Basin Roundtable submitted their Basin Implementation Plan (BIP) to the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) to incorporate into the Statewide Colorado Water Plan (CWP). The Southwest BIP can be found on the CWCB website, under the "community" tab/page.

Water Resources Review Committee Meeting

More than 100 people attended an August 27th meeting in Durango to share their thoughts and concerns with the Colorado General Assembly’s Water Resources Review Committee (WRRC). The WRRC is conducting meetings around the state to collect comments about the Colorado Water Plan.

Southwest Basin Roundtable

At their May Southwest Basin Roundtable (SBR) meeting, John McClow, Colorado Commissioner on the Upper Colorado River Commission, gave a presentation on the history of the compacts guiding the administration of the Colorado River. John detailed the Lower Basin apportionment and Upper Basin compliance requirements resulting from these agreements, the sustained regional drought, and how the Law of the River has been adapted through the 2007 Interim Shortage Guidelines, and Minute 319 to temporarily address shortages. John explained the hydropower and operational impacts should Lake Powell’s elevation fall below the minimum power pool (see ‘Hydropower Production Threatened’ story under the water and energy section of this newsletter), and contingency plans currently being discussed to address those impacts. Roundtable members asked questions about the presentation. 

Statewide Roundtable Summit

The Colorado Statewide Roundtable Summit was conducted in Denver on March 6th. There were more than 300 in attendance.

Protecting Colorado’s Water Future--by Bruce Whitehead, Southwestern Water Conservation District

As an essential resource, water supports the open space provided by the state’s productive ranches and farms, brings us recreational activities such as boating and fishing, is the source of high quality

Public Input Sought on Colorado Water Plan

The following excerpts were written by Colorado State Senator Gail Schwartz and is reproduced here with her permission:

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