From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
The state is looking at an early release of the Colorado Water Plan, possibly as soon as the November Colorado Water Conservation Board meeting.
“The board worked on the final draft of the plan last week,” Alan Hamel, who represents the Arkansas River basin on the board, told the Arkansas Basin Roundtable Wednesday.
The CWCB staff is working to get the final document ready for presentation to Gov. John Hickenlooper by its Nov. 19 meeting in Denver, Hamel said.
“The meeting will be at History Colorado, and this is history,” he said.
Hickenlooper ordered the CWCB to develop the water plan by Dec. 10 back in 2013. The board wants to complete it sooner after collecting input for the past two years on how to satisfy the water demand of a growing population.
Some changes are coming, based on more than 30,000 comments from the public as the plan was being developed. Some of them criticized the plan for not whittling down a long list of actions to a manageable number in order to prioritize projects.
The board directed staff to streamline the critical action item contained in Chapter 10 of the plan to just 36, down from a suite of 200 total actions. All of the actions are included in earlier chapters, but the board wanted to focus on the most important tasks.
“The other thing we heard was that it was important to have measurable objectives,” Hamel said.
He gave the roundtable some of the specific things that will be included in the final plan:
Reducing the municipal gap from 560,000 acre-feet annually to zero by 2030. Setting a goal of 400,000 acre-feet of urban conservation by 2050. Obtaining an additional 400,000 acre-feet of storage by 2050. Maximizing the productivity of agriculture while identifying 50,000 acre-feet of voluntary alternative transfers that will not permanently dry up farmland. Setting an objective to have 75 percent of the state’s population living in communities that have incorporated water-saving options by 2025. Covering 80 percent of locally prioritized streams and watersheds with management plans by 2030. About 48 percent are covered now.
“It is an exciting time,” Hamel said. “A plan isn’t any good unless something gets done.”