From the Valley Courier (Ruth Heide):
Through a survey conducted by The Colorado Foundation for Water Education, whose primary role is education, the roundtable members revealed the areas they believed the group has been successful, areas they believe they require more information and areas of future emphasis.
Of those responding to the foundation’s survey, Rio Grande Roundtable members said they believed their top priorities as a water group should be: to promote sustainable water use; promote statewide vision and solutions; identify projects and processes to meet future consumptive and non-consumptive needs; educate; influence water policy; and protect the basin’s water.
The priorities statewide ran a little differently with identifying projects and processes to meet future needs as the number one priority and influencing water policy as the last priority. Education came in fourth statewide as a priority. Second was promoting statewide vision and solutions and third was promoting sustainable water use.
Kristin Maharg from The Colorado Foundation for Water Education met with the Rio Grande Roundtable on Tuesday to discuss the survey results. She said the Rio Grande Basin identified its top water issues in 2007 as: Rio Grande Compact (effects of prolonged drought and achieving sustainability); agricultural water needs (ag groundwater use currently at unsustainable levels); economic impacts of reduced groundwater irrigation (minimizing those impacts); residential growth (in some areas of Valley such as South Fork the growth was creating a need for augmentation of water supplies); and municipal/industrial/ag water needs. Of those priorities, Rio Grande Roundtable members and participants ranked the issues they personally felt they required more information about in 2009. The top water education need was the economic impacts of reduced groundwater irrigation with the associated agricultural water needs coming in second. Respondents also ranked those two issues as the top priorities for water education for the roundtable as a whole with the Rio Grande Compact coming in next…
Three Valley projects will be going before the Interbasin Compact Committee (IBCC) next week including one for Willow Creek, one for a local Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program and one for the Trinchera watershed. Smith said the IBCC has $5 million in requests for $2.4-2.8 million in available funding so the competition will be stiff.