The need for Colorado’s Water Plan has been coming for a long time. Colorado is one of the only states in the West that does not have a formal water plan. On May 14, 2013 Governor Hickenlooper issued an executive order directing the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) to commence work on the first ever Colorado Water Plan. The plan is intended to help Colorado prepare for its water future. Specifically, Governor Hickenlooper ordered that the plan address the projected shortfall (aka “the gap”) between future water supply and demand and help Colorado reduce the practice of converting agricultural water rights to municipal water uses (aka “buy and dry”). A draft of the plan is due to the governor by the end of 2014. The final product is expected one year later. The CWCB has directed the public to comment on the water plan efforts via the nine Basin Roundtables. This is the route we must take to get our comments incorporated into each of the basin plans. The basin roundtables have been instructed to gather comments from the public and deliver their draft basin specific plan by July. In order for us to get comments incorporated into those basin specific plans we need to get to work quickly and have our comments to them before March 2014. Each of the basins are using the Statewide Water Supply Initiative (SWSI) report that they developed in 2010 as a starting point to develop their water plans. In this report the gaps, important water projects, supply needs etc. have been already identified in each basin.
Trout Unlimited has been working the past couple of months to develop an easy way for staff, board, chapters and members to provide comments on the water plan and have an opportunity to get the unified Trout Unlimited voice heard in each of the river basins. All 24 Chapters across Colorado have received the materials that they need in order to provide educated comments to each of their basins. If you would like more information about this effort or would like to receive the materials prepared please contact Stephanie Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information from the State on the water plan, visit the website at www.coloradowaterplan.com.
Developing Colorado’s first ever water plan is not an easy task; however as a river conservation organization we could not let the opportunity pass to provide comments that would protect the fish and water that we as members need in our life in the future. We would love to hear comments from our members on what they would like to see incorporated into the plan.