Draft Water Plan Unveiled

The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) presented its draft Colorado Water Plan to Gov. Hickenlooper on Dec. 10. In the draft, the CWCB says there is widespread consensus among the various water basins that water conservation, alternative methods of using agricultural water that will not result in the permanent dry-up of farmland, and more efficient and effective permitting of water projects should be the State’s priorities.

Ultimately, the CWCB intends for Colorado’s Water Plan to be a meaningful document that meets the following criteria: 1) Fosters collaborative solutions to responsibly address the looming gap between supply and demand. The effect of this is to fortify Prior Appropriation Doctrine, not undermine it. 2. Identifies and tests cost-effective alternatives to the permanent “buy & dry” of irrigated lands. 3. Asserts that Colorado will protect its compact entitlements, act affirmatively to avoid compact curtailments where possible, and demonstrate effective state-based policy to prevent federal erosion of state and local water authority. 4. Encourages strong cooperation by interested stakeholders to move regulatory and permitting efforts more quickly through the processes by front-loading state involvement. 5. Aligns state policies, resources, and funding to support Colorado’s water values and actionable objectives.

The final version of the Water Plan is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 10, 2015. Note: Gary Wockner, the well-known head of Save the Poudre was spotted on the capitol steps waving a “save our rivers” sign when the Water Plan was delivered to the Governor. More information about the plan is available here: http://coloradowaterplan.com

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