Draft Colorado Water Plan Complete!

Rising demand from population growth and industry, if continued through 2050, threatens to leave 2.5 million people in Colorado with a water supply shortfall. Unless solutions are found to meet the gap between water demand and supply, the result could be, among others, agricultural dry-up. Therefore, and in response, in May 2013 Governor Hickenlooper ordered the development of a first-ever Colorado Water Plan. In mid-November the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) sent the Governor a draft of this plan that aims to shape the future of the resource in the state. The plan, which took a year-and-a-half to craft, was a monumental and unprecedented effort that involved the work of hundreds of individuals and organizations throughout Colorado. It is generally agreed that a variety of methods will need to be included in the Plan to meet the water supply needs of the state—conservation, development of already Identified Projects and Processes (IPP’s), agricultural “buy and dry,” and development of “new supply” projects. Taken together, these are referred to as the ‘four legs of the stool.’  The Colorado Water Plan will provide a roadmap for the future while protecting private ownership of water rights. The CWCB members are careful to point out that the roadmap is a ‘living document’ that can be changed over the years. There was a ceremony on December 10th in Denver to formally accept the draft plan and to celebrate. A final plan must be completed by December 2015.