Take Two of Colorado’s Water Plan Released — KUNC #COWaterPlan

Colorado transmountain diversions via the State Engineer's office
Colorado transmountain diversions via the State Engineer’s office

From KUNC (Stephanie Paige Ogburn):

Over the course of the process, the state’s nine roundtables, representing eight different water basins (the Metro and South Platte roundtables are in the same basin), have outlined their ideas for state water use. As usual, the Front Range water districts are calling for more water from the Western Slope, with predictable outcry from those on the west side of the mountains.

It’s the failure to make firm decisions on this sort of contentious issue that has led to criticism of the plan, which does not have binding authority and has not required participants to iron out where future water will come from.

The participants in the process acknowledge the document lacks teeth, but Joe Frank, chair of the South Platte Basin Roundtable, said that’s deliberate.

“It is a planning document, it’s not a law, it’s not a mandate, but these are more recommendations that hopefully people can actually follow up on and really start to do some real things,” said Frank.

Yet those outside the process, including famed water expert Pat Mulroy — who led the desert city of Las Vegas’ water planning for decades, spurring the city to unprecedented levels of conservation while also shoring up its water supplies — told the Colorado Independent that a plan that doesn’t force anyone to make tough decisions isn’t much of a plan.

The public can comment on the plan until Sept. 17, 2015. The final draft will be submitted to Governor Hickenlooper in December of the same year.

More Colorado Water Plan coverage here.

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