Water demands grow on both sides of the Continental Divide — Aspen Journalism #ColoradoRiver #COWaterPlan

Here’s a recap of the December 4 IBCC meeting in Golden, from Aspen Journalism (Allen Best). Click through and read the whole thing. Here’s an excerpt:

Many of the members of Colorado’s Interbasin Compact Committee, or IBCC, risked icy roads and snowy weather to get to their state-level water meeting in Golden on December 4. And when they got there – to talk about water for the state’s growing population – they didn’t find the going any easier…

The IBCC includes representatives from the state’s nine river basin roundtables. And as it convened, it did so knowing the Colorado River Basin Roundtable had just drawn a line on the Continental Divide in a position paper, telling the IBCC that “new transmountain diversions projects, if any, should be the very last ‘tool’ out of the box.’”

“Everybody knows the new supply will come from the Colorado River basin, except those of us in the Colorado River basin,” Stan Cazier of Grand County, who represents the Colorado River Basin Roundtable, told the other members of the IBCC.

Today, nearly three-quarters of the water in the upper Colorado River is sent east before the river reaches the Grand County seat in Hot Sulphur Springs. In all, 450,000 acre-feet to 600,000 acre-feet of water is moved each year from the Western Slope to cities along the Front Range and farms on the eastern plains.

But faced with a growing population, representatives of water interests on the Front Range want to plan for additional diversions, or “new supply,” from the Western Slope. Still in doubt is whether that water is available…

Taylor Hawes, Colorado River Program director for The Nature Conservancy…wants conservation and efficiency fully explored before additional water projects are considered.

“It’s premature to talk about a big project on the Western Slope, because we don’t know what problem we’re solving,” said Hawes, who is one of the governor’s appointees on the IBCC to represent environmental viewpoints. “Depending upon the problem, the solution may look different.”

More IBCC — basin roundtables coverage here and here. More Colorado Water Plan coverage here

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