Computing a water balance amongst the various consumptive and non-consumptive uses with an eye towards avoiding large-scale dry-ups of agricultural land is one goal of the tool. Another is to demonstrate how an increase in one use affects the other uses. Here’s a report from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:
The Colorado Water Conservation Board has developed the portfolio tool to weigh how the success of water projects already under development, urban conservation, new projects and agricultural transfers fit into meeting a projected “gap” in urban water supplies. Members of the Arkansas Basin Roundtable were given the chance to learn how to use the tool Wednesday in a computer lab at Colorado State University-Pueblo, but only a few showed up.
Water resources workers from Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Aurora also attended the meeting to learn more about the tool and offer suggestions about assumptions that have been made…
The Metro Basin Roundtable, for instance, developed four scenarios, looking at different levels of future demand. It took another step and developed a white paper on how more conservation might be achieved to reduce the need to dry up farms or import more water. The Colorado Basin Roundtable produced a model that showed how agricultural preservation statewide could be maximized. “I think the tool shows how if you make a change in one area, it affects something else, like Whac-a-Mole,” said Dave Taussig, a member of the roundtable from Lincoln County.
The group moved parameters within the model to look at low, medium or high demand in the future, and agreed to share these with the full roundtable at a future date. In some cases — for instance, low demand, high conservation and development of identified projects — there would be very limited impact on agricultural land.
More IBCC — basin roundtables coverage here.