Peter Binney: ‘You are on the cusp of a major change in water management’


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Colorado’s efforts to deal with water problems, such as the Interbasin Compact Committee he once sat on, are not effectively meeting the need for action on water projects. Basin roundtables have created discussions that continue to return to the same dilemmas, he said. “We need a General Patton to lead us out of circular motion and into forward motion,” Binney said…

The United States is in the third era of water development, in Binney’s view. The first was an attitude of “man over nature” that lasted until the 1960s. From then until now, the country has gone through “social awareness” that recognized other needs like the environment and recreation need to be incorporated in water planning. From this time forward, the country will look at balance needs, dealing with shortage or crisis management, he predicted…

Binney’s solutions to the looming crisis involve changes in the way water is used:

– Land-use planning and water supply need to be integrated. That will mean more high-rises along water corridors.

– Agricultural uses of water must continue, but it could mean a change in cropping patterns. In Colorado, cattle and cattle feed are the major agricultural products. That could change as the global food market shifts.

– Regional water supply systems will become more common. The changes will come from local districts charged with providing water, and a statewide “metro water district” is possible.

– Projects will be paid for over their life cycle. Currently, there is a $2 trillion infrastructure gap nationwide that cities and water districts will be tasked to pay for.

– More efficient appliances will conserve some water, but larger savings will be realized by better choices for urban landscaping.

– Water users will have to overcome the “yuck factor” when it comes to direct reuse for potable water.

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