Colorado just left a multi-year drought to experience massive winter snow and fierce spring rainstorms. It is now joining much of the country for a scorching summer. The extreme variability in weather is creating a perception of unrelenting natural disasters and reinforcing the need to save and protect Colorado’s water. Conservation and storage are the twin strategies that are dominating the current policy discussions. Fortunately, Colorado water providers have been busy developing a series of major Front Range projects that primarily build off-stream storage, use existing reservoirs or develop water sharing reuse systems.
Colorado is the source of much of the Colorado River flow. The drought and water shortage has started a contentious period for the seven states, Mexico, and tribes that depend on the River. Presently, water professions with a sense of compromise are dominating the negotiations, but climate and politics make it difficult to satisfy the historic rights and uses in the new conditions.
The attention on water has increased the statewide dialogue and collaboration on water saving and storage. Even the Western Slope, which has been reluctant to support new projects due to concern about the Front Range growth and water diversion, is realizing the real competition is downstream and the challenging variable weather.RELATED: Protecting Colorado’s Water