2016 Colorado legislation: Interim Water Resources Committee update

Vail Colorado via Colorado Department of Tourism
Vail Colorado via Colorado Department of Tourism

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

They’re supposed to be part-time legislators, but the Interim Water Resources Review Committee has been spending a lot of time on the road lately.

“We are committed to good water policy,” state Sen. Ellen Roberts, RDurango, and committee chairwoman, told Colorado Water Congress, meeting for its summer convention. “We have a robust statewide presence.”

The committee annually meets throughout the summer and fall months to develop water legislation that should move forward. A supermajority of the 10-member panel is required, but other bills are introduced through other routes, Roberts said.

The committee has given itself extra work this year with listening sessions on the state water plan, and many of those have been conducted. It heard a morning’s worth of testimony this week in Vail.

“There is a huge concern about storage, particularly if we can get to the point where we can finance storage,” Roberts said.

Highlights of the tour included discussion of multipurpose storage in the Arkansas River basin, efficiency in the Rio Grande and an overall desire to streamline regulation.

“One of the things I heard over and over is that there needs to be more collaboration with partners,” said state Rep. Ed Vigil, D-Fort Garland, who is vice chairman of the committee.

Vigil said it is important to promote agriculture and assure water is available for farms.

“There are lots of challenges,” Vigil said. “I’m glad we’re able to get out there and talk to people. When we make laws, we should do no harm.”