“We’re still crunching the numbers…There’s been a spike” in comments since Aug. 20 — James Eklund #COWaterPlan

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Gary Harmon):

A poll aimed at influencing the drafting of the Colorado statewide water plan says residents oppose a new transmountain diversion and the plan should emphasize conservation. The poll was commissioned by WaterforColorado.org, which said the results were mirrored in more than 18,000 comments submitted for the drafting of a statewide water plan, the first draft of which is to be presented on Dec. 10.

The comment period on the plan ended a week ago and the Colorado Water Conservation Board is now factoring comments into its report.

“Our position is that any engagement is good engagement,” said James Eklund, director of the CWCB, who noted that the agency received 10,475 letters between Sept. 20, 2013, and Aug. 20, 2014.

“We’re still crunching the numbers,” Eklund said. “There’s been a spike” in comments since Aug. 20.

That total included 6,213 form letters marked “protect Colorado’s rivers,” as suggested by Water for Colorado, Eklund noted. Comments also included 730 unique emails and 92 unique submissions on web forms.

The poll, conducted by a bipartisan team, Keating Research and Public Opinion Strategies, found that 90 percent of respondents said the water plan should be to keep the state’s rivers healthy and flowing and that 78 percent of voters prefer using water conservation and recycling instead of diverting water from the Western Slope to the Front Range. It also found that 88 percent of respondents support a statewide goal of reducing water use in cities and towns by 10 percent by 2020.

WaterForColorado.org doesn’t identify its source of funding or staff members and notes on the website that it “shares insights and expertise from a variety of organizations that research and study water conservation and natural resource issues. WaterForColorado.org offers a solutions-based approach to Colorado’s water future, and opportunities for the general public to have a voice and take action.”

Other organizations have made similar findings.

“The interesting thing is that in this survey, the West Slope is at least being echoed in emphasizing conservation,” said Jim Pokrandt, spokesman for the Colorado River Water Conservation District.

The poll was conducted Sept. 5 to 8 of 500 voters across Colorado, including an oversample of 162 voters on the West Slope. Statewide, the margin of error is plus or minus 4.6 percent and plus or minus 7.7 percent on the West Slope.

More Colorado Water Plan coverage here.

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