Wester Water Workshop recap: 85 percent of Colorado’s appropriated water is used in agriculture

farviewreservoir.jpg

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

At least 85 percent of water is used for agriculture in Colorado. In addition, more than half of municipal water supplies is sprinkled on lawns and golf courses. Then, there are uncounted billions of gallons that water the forests and prairies of the state…

Peter Nichols, a water attorney who worked on a study of growth and water in Colorado, said growth is determined by other factors. He pointed to the example of Las Vegas, the fastest growing and driest major city in the nation. “You can’t build a fence around growth. Also, people who move here are reproducing,” Nichols said. “There aren’t any examples where a lack of water stopped growth.”

Except maybe the Anasazi, said John Stulp, Gov. John Hickenlooper’s point man for water issues. Stulp, who heads the Interbasin Compact Committee, said water has been constantly reorganized in Colorado to fit the needs of the time. It started with ditch owners developing a system of water rights so the upstream user didn’t steal the water. That led to large canal companies, exchanges, storage projects, interstate compacts and big diversions across the Continental Divide…

“It’s easy to say, ‘Let’s conserve,’ but it really doesn’t solve the issues,” said Jeff Devere, an IBCC member from Northwestern Colorado. “The question is not how we grow, but how do we change?”[…]

In the end, there were still no solid answers for what was billed as the “growth-water conundrum.”

More Colorado water coverage here.

Leave a Reply