From The Durango Herald (Peter Marcus):
…some wonder if rural Colorado is over-accommodating metro areas with the plan. State water officials – with input from eight regional water basins – outlined an estimated $20 billion in projects related to a municipal water-supply gap, which is growing largely because of Front Range expansion.
A second draft of Colorado’s Water Plan was made available to the public earlier this month. State lawmakers and water officials held a legislative meeting in Durango on Monday evening to present the plan and allow for input.
“We know the state is not going to be able to handle the burden, so we’re going to need to think outside the box,” said James Eklund, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board.
In a change from the plan’s first draft, the second draft includes an elaborate “critical action plan,” which includes proposals for legislation and Colorado Water Conservation Board policy.
The plan focuses heavily on funding, proposing ideas that run the gamut, including a possible ballot initiative that would ask voters to approve a fee on beverage containers. Voters have rejected past tax hikes for water issues.
Other ideas include creating a tax credit for homeowners who install efficient outdoor landscapes and irrigation, and exploring public-private partnerships to implement projects…
“Colorado can no longer be all things to all people,” commented Dick Ray, representing the Archuleta County Farm Bureau.
Sen. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, pointed out that state officials must delicately balance population-dense Colorado with agricultural areas.
“We hear the desire to limit the number of people coming into the state of Colorado, but I don’t know how you do that,” Roberts said. “I don’t know how you close the door.”
More Colorado Water Plan coverage here.