Water conservation and future Colorado demand

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From the Grand Junction Free Press (Greg Trainor):

One of the key components of future water supply planning is water conservation. This is among other approaches that either create new water (like cloud seeding), capture existing water (like more reservoirs to hold back excess water in times like this spring), or transfer water from one use to another use.

It has been estimated that transfers of water from agriculture to the cities could result in 65 percent of Colorado’s irrigated agriculture disappearing by 2050. Is the demise of irrigated agriculture something we as Colorado residents wish to see? And, with agriculture gone, what would we eat?[…]

Water conservation, in its broadest sense, is anything that stretches water supplies. The idea is to keep water, which you already have, in place, and not use it until you absolutely have to. This happens in a number of ways like installing water efficient appliances, not running water while brushing your teeth, replacing lawns with xeric landscaping, or making improvements to water distribution systems by repairing leaks. So water conservation seems like something we can do to stretch our supplies without too much inconvenience or discomfort. Keep in mind that every acre foot saved should be used to make up for shortages in precipitation during times of drought, and not used to supply water to future population increases. To do so only puts us into a deeper hole when drought does occur. Less water, but more people with nothing to drink…

In 2004, the Colorado Water Conservation Board established steps for the development of a comprehensive conservation plan and water providers are required to address each of the following elements:

•Characterize water use and forecast demand

•Profile proposed facilities

•Identify conservation goals

•Identify conservation measures and programs

•Evaluate and select conservation measures and programs

•Integrate resources and modify forecasts

•Develop implementation plan

•Monitor, evaluate and revise conservation activities and the conservation plan[…]

Grand Junction, Ute Water Conservancy District and Clifton Water District have been working on many other cooperative efforts to ensure the Grand Valley is protected in times of shortages. For example, the three systems are interconnected. If there is a water shortage for one entity, it is considered a shortage for the others. Crews train together as well as have the authority to open up valves to supply water from other areas of the system…

For more information on area water conservation efforts, visit the Drought Information Response Project website at www.thedripwebsite.com.

More conservation coverage here.

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