IBCC: Discussions for meeting Colorado’s future water supply gap should include environmental and future ag needs

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

[The]…major water strategies for meeting a looming gap in state water supply [are]: identified projects, urban water conservation, new projects to increase supply and alternatives to drying up agriculture…

The nine basin roundtables, which feed into the IBCC under a 2005 state law that created both, are just beginning to use the portfolio tool developed for the IBCC in 2010. In one case, the North Platte Basin Roundtable wanted to look at what would happen if no more agricultural land were taken out of production. “The results were that it took a very high level of conservation and a new supply to make up the difference,” [water adviser for Gov. John Hickenlooper. Stulp also chairs the IBCC] said. “Obviously, there is no one silver bullet for a state water solution.”[…]

Stulp believes that as more people become familiar with the tool, they will begin to broaden their viewpoint about water development…

The portfolio tool focuses on the urban water gap identified in the CWCB’s Statewide Water Supply Initiative. It takes into account ongoing passive conservation and the potential water needs for energy development. The portfolio tool makes it possible to look at trade-offs including decreases in irrigated acres, depletions to the Colorado River, the size of alternative agricultural transfers, nonconsumptive water availability and the costs of alternatives compared to the status quo…

The Arkansas Basin Roundtable wants to add agricultural water needs [to the planning tool], or perhaps give it its own seat. A committee led by Beulah rancher Reeves Brown met last week to begin planning a study that will model how different scenarios could affect irrigated agriculture in the Arkansas River basin.

More IBCC — basin roundtables coverage here.

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