Colorado’s State Water Plan

Colorado's State Water Plan

Water lies at the core of Colorado’s economy, lifestyle, and identity. BWS works with the business community in Colorado to advocate for the economic value of our rivers. We work towards a secure water future by directing and funding the implementation of Colorado’s Water Plan, which includes protecting rivers, promoting water flexibility and sharing, and increasing water conservation and efficiency.

Water supplies from Colorado’s rivers and watersheds allow Colorado to thrive and are pivotal for our booming outdoor recreation economy, worth $9 billion. Yet, many of our rivers and streams are struggling due to dams and diversions, drought, and demands from growth. Historically, there has been little funding to remedy these problems and what exists suffers from declining severance tax revenues. The implementation of the Colorado Water Plan needs to address river health through stream management planning, the state’s in-stream flow program and potentially new sources of funding, to protect Colorado’s rivers from long-term drought and climate change. BWS engages with the outdoor industry and attends the Outdoor Retailer shows, now based in Denver, as one way to bring the business voice in Colorado to policy makers on these issues.

Water Planning in Colorado should take proactive measures to use existing water supplies more efficiently. Many cities and towns can meet the water needs of their growing populations by investing in water conservation and efficiency, instead of building more costly projects to divert water from rivers.  Colorado can meet the Water Plan’s urban conservation goal by reducing water use 1 percent per year through 2050, which will generate 440,000 acre-feet — enough water to supply about 1.5 million homes. Some solutions include:

  • Investments in demand management would pay farmers/ranchers for reductions in water use in the event of a Colorado River compact call, prolonged or worsened drought.
  • Enhance conservation efforts for small municipalities through additional capacity to implement state-of-the-art water efficiencies, such as smart-meters/bills, turf replacement, conservation outreach and education.
  • Connect and incentivize water efficiency with land use planning, shrinking demand from population growth.

Learn more about how you can help us in planning for, investing in, and promoting and managing the future of our rivers, public lands and open spaces as our companies and communities increasingly look to and depend upon them. You can also add your business to our network here. 

Recently in the News:

Those at Denver’s Outdoor Retailer must protect the rivers they rely on, Denver Post

Outdoor Retailer show in Denver brings out the politics, Colorado Politics

Let’s Invest in Our Water Future, Glenwood Spring Post Independent

Outdoor Industry Gets Involved with River Advocacy

A BWS led coalition of non-profits and businesses partnered to offer a variety of opportunities to educate and engage attendees at the 2018 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market because from the places we play to the water we drink, rivers are the foundation for our outdoor industry.

“There’s been tremendous growth in the watersports industry in recent years, and that growth is projected to continue in the years ahead,” said Luis Benitez, director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office. “And in Colorado and across the Western U.S., as we confront impacts from drought, climate change and demands from growth, it’s critical that we protect and preserve our rivers.”