Colorado's State Water Plan
Water lies at the core of Colorado’s economy, lifestyle, and identity. Clean, reliable water supplies are critical for Colorado communities and our economy. As a major economic driver for the state two million jobs and nearly 60% of our gross state product rely on a healthy Colorado River. But a growing population and changing climate are stressing the water sources we all depend on. Businesses can play a vital role in shaping our water future.
Colorado’s business community is promoting water security by making sure the Colorado Water Plan is fully funded and implemented. The plan will protect rivers, promote water flexibility and sharing, and increase water conservation and efficiency.
The Colorado Water Plan will provide Colorado the needed policies and funding to manage and conserve water in the 19th year of drought in the Colorado River Basin. The plan was approved in 2015 and since then we have worked to bring the business voice to the conversation to shape strategies that will implement and pay for the plan. There is no dedicated funding stream to pay for the conservation and efficiency measures in the plan. Those costs are estimated to be about $100 million a year. BWS is working to secure a funding stream for these projects as they are critical to ensure river health, strong communities and a strong state economy.
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.
Recently in the News:
Proposition DD- A Win for Colorado’s Water
Various efforts are underway to find ways to fund and implement Colorado’s Water Plan, a plan for our state’s water future. The plan provides a road map to help us conserve and manage our water better statewide, including conservation objectives that improve our rivers, environment and that invest in rural economies.
Proposition DD was recently passed by Colorado voters to legalize sports betting with proceeds going to fund the state Water Plan. DD will provide a dedicated revenue stream of an estimated $20 million a year which will be a good down payment on programs that protect rivers including conservation, efficiency and restoration. We will continue to work on finding funding for the water plan as the estimated amount needed annually is $100 million.