Interbasin Compact Committee and Southwest Basin Roundtable Update

The Interbasin Compact Committee (IBCC) was established in 2005 in response to a Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) study that showed an 18-percent “gap” in municipal water supplies by 2030. It proposed a grass-roots solution by forming basin roundtables after a $2 billion top-down funding proposal was soundly defeated by state voters in 2003.

The Southwest Basin Roundtable (SWBR), which covers the Dolores/San Juan River Basin, was formed in 2006. It is currently chaired by Mike Preston, General Manager of the Dolores Water Conservancy District. The SWBR has been meeting every-other month in either Cortez or Durango. To-date they have approved and recommended $3.7 million in funding for basin-related projects for authorization by the Colorado Water Conservation Board. Table 1 provides a breakdown of those projects.

Mike indicated there is approximately $19k as a balance in the SWBR account. In addition, in a correspondence distributed prior to the November Roundtable meeting, Mike commented, “Much of our work as a Roundtable has been focused on allocating Basin funds. I strongly suggest that in the months to come we should refocus our energies on getting proposed projects and measures to support our future water needs in the best possible shape.”
On a separate note, at the September Roundtable meeting, Nicole Seltzer, with the Colorado Foundation for Water Education, presented the results of the Southwest Basin Roundtable Education Survey taken in early spring by the Public Education, Participation, and Outreach Workgroup of the IBCC. In regard to personal and roundtable education needs, respondent’s top preferences included water supply availability, as well as more information on the Colorado River Compact and changing demographics. Respondents would like to see improvements to the Roundtable process that include education/information programs and presentations, public participation, and more statewide direction. Nicole indicated the CWCB/IBCC may ask for a 2010 action plan based on the results of the Southwest Basin Roundtable education survey.