Denver public policy research firm report says that state severance tax policy is short changing Colorado water projects

A picture named fountainpavementdrawing.jpg

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

[Dick Brown, of San Dollar Research] looked at the state’s reliance on mineral severance taxes to fund water projects and concluded they are inadequate to meet the large backlog of projects and future needs. “I wish my conclusions had gone the other way,” Brown said. “But I am not very confident about the state being able to marshal the resources that will be necessary — at least not for the next several years.”

As the state has sought to balance its budget for the past two years, mineral severance funds that traditionally funded many water projects in Colorado were reviewed, and in some cases diverted, to cover shortfalls elsewhere in the budget. Big water projects, such as Southern Delivery System and the proposed Flaming Gorge diversion from Wyoming to Colorado’s Front Range, will cost billions of dollars to build. At the same time, the state has nearly $5 million in needs for an aging infrastructure.

The state also is struggling to come up with ways to fill a municipal gap in water supplies identified by the Colorado Water Conservation Board. The effort, called the Statewide Water Supply Initiative, started after the historic drought of 2002…

[Brown] reached three conclusions:

– Water managers should not look to the state for primary funding commitments for projects.
– State elected officials don’t have the resources or time in office to develop long-term capital financing programs for water projects.
– The water community has to make an effort to preserve current levels of state support to prevent funds from shifting to other high-priority needs in the state.

More infrastructure coverage here.

Leave a Reply