From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Sarah Jane Kyle):
About 50 regional leaders and individuals attended the Regional Issues Summit in Loveland on Wednesday to tackle water and other issues.
Keeping water in mind — especially in “years of plenty” — will be a critical to Northern Colorado’s future because of the region’s ever-shifting water supply, said Northern Water General Manager Eric Wilkinson. Colorado’s population is expected to double in the next 40 years, making good planning “essential.”
“If you’re in a good spot in regards to water supply, you’re one day closer to a drought,” he said. “If you’re in a drought, you’re one day closer to a good water supply.”
Wilkinson added that 2014 is a year of plenty. Lake Granby is 7 inches from spilling over. Horsetooth Reservoir is also running high.
More rainfall meant less people needed to pull from water storage to meet their irrigation needs and contributed to Northern Colorado’s successful year.
Peak snowpack for the North Platte Basin was 140 percent above normal for the 2013-14 snow season, which peaks in April, according to the National Weather Service…
Addressing the need will take a tiered approach, with conservation as an important, but incomplete, piece of the puzzle, Wilkinson said.
“Conservation is the most important thing you can do and the cheapest thing you can do in regards to water management,” he said. “However, it is not a silver bullet. There are limits to what it can do.”
A more controversial approach is to create new water supplies and storage, such as the proposed Northern Integrated Supply Project, or NISP.
“We owe it to ourselves to explore that,” Wilkinson said. “We’re in a very great situation now, but we have a lot to do to plan for what’s coming up.”
More Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District coverage here.