July 7, 2015--Whose job is it to worry if a city's water supply is sustainable? (Sustainable Cities Collective)

The headline asks one of the big questions prompted by a recent Planetizen interview with Denver Planning Director Brad Buchanan. It’s broached in the comments thread in a lively exchange between Jim Safranek and Jake Wegmann. Mr. Safranek says it’s a planner’s obligation to consider the long-term security of a city’s water supply. Mr. Wegmann counters that securing a sustainable water supply is a bridge too far for a single planner and the department he leads. Both commentators make good points. As it turns out, the question is anchoring a dialogue here in Colorado sponsored by the Colorado Water Institute and the Keystone Policy Center. These entities have joined forces for a two-year project to tackle what they call the “dilemma” of water use in Colorado. At the heart of the dilemma is this: a state’s economic viability often depends on growth, yet water — as an obviously key requirement for economic growth — is a precious resource that can’t be harvested willy-nilly. Complicating the dilemma is the fact that not everyone who deals in water supply and land use in the state is on the same page. Land use planning is typically a local governmental concern, while water planning and allocation occur on multiple local, state, and federal levels. The traditional disconnect between planning and land use decisions and current and future water supply realities can preclude a sustainable balance between water supply and growth. To view the full article visit Sustainable Cities Collective.