Monday, January 29, 2018

Colorado Politics: Will Colorado’s Next Guv Keep Water at Top of Agenda?

More than 70 percent of Colorado’s water leadership believe that the state’s snow this winter will be below or very below average. The voting on water issues took place at the annual Colorado Water Congress with several hundred leaders gathered to hear the Governor give his final water legacy speech. Both the Governor and the audience, who voted with their cell phones, were optimistic that the state water plan would continue to be a guide for planning by the next administration.

In a Colorado Politics column, I describe Colorado’s water utilities’ efforts to stay ahead of droughts with new storage, reuse and conservation.

Will Colorado’s Next Guv Keep Water at Top of Agenda?
More than a decade ago, Colorado learned that it faces a projected shortfall of more than 400,000 acre-feet of water by 2040. The amount, if stored and if conservation techniques were implemented simultaneously, would supply water to 2 million people. But during the past 10 years, the state has continued to attract people – now, more than 2 million newcomers are expected to arrive by 2040. Meanwhile, Colorado is susceptible to drought cycles, with the last one occurring in 2012. This 2017-2018 winter season is certainly starting out exceptionally dry in the high country, which is of concern because the Front Range gets the majority of its water supply from mountain snowmelt. Water supply is a constant priority in Colorado.

Fortunately, the state has a water plan and hundreds of water agencies committed to meeting the challenge. Some are large, like Denver Water, Aurora Water, Colorado Springs Utilities and Northern Water, and deliver thousands of acre-feet of water to millions of customers. But most agencies are smaller and support Colorado’s regional towns and cities, farms and ranches. Read more…

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