From the Boulder Daily Camera (Bart Miller):
There is much to be thankful for in our lives. This is especially true for Colorado’s rivers. We fish, boat, picnic, hike, swim and enjoy their serenity. The good news is the Colorado Water Plan is the first time the state has put together a plan for how to address water in Colorado, and it sets a course to ensure that all our kids and grandkids can enjoy thriving Colorado rivers for years to come.
So we raise our glasses to Gov. Hickenlooper and the Colorado Water Conservation Board for adopting a Colorado Water Plan on Nov. 19 that includes many strong elements! This is an important step forward on future water management.
We are extremely pleased that the new water plan sets the first-ever statewide water conservation goal. The Colorado Water Plan sets a goal of conserving 400,000 acre-feet of water by 2050, which is a nearly 1 percent annual reduction in per person water use in our cities and towns. This is a very doable and cost-effective strategy to stretch our existing water supplies, relying on innovation and new best practices that can maintain our high quality of life. This is a common sense approach and a key element for state water management.
Second, the water plan proposes annual funding for healthy rivers, creating ongoing financial support for river assessments and projects that help make our rivers resilient. For too long our state has been overly focused on pipes and concrete to move water around — and not on the impacts to our rivers. We have a $9 billion recreation industry in Colorado that relies on healthy rivers, and our own joy and happiness require healthy rivers. So it’s great to see the plan make a solid down payment toward future river health.
Finally, we applaud that the new plan makes large, new river diversions from the Western Slope to the Front Range highly unlikely. A framework presented in the plan about how to make decisions on these projects will help ensure the expense, time and alternative approaches are thoroughly considered. There are cheaper, faster and better ways to meet our water needs than piping water west to east over the Rockies.