@CWCB_DNR: Demand Management 2019 Work Plan – Update #3

Here’s the update from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (Brent Newman):

The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) Project Management Team will release periodic updates on progress and accomplishments relating to the 2019 Work Plan for Intrastate Demand Management Feasibility Investigations. In this Update, we will discuss changes to the Workgroup process, the Orientation Webinar, and upcoming opportunities for engagement.

Workgroups to Proceed without Disclosure Agreement: After careful consideration of the comments and input received to date, CWCB and DNR leadership have decided that the Workgroup process will move forward without the proposed Ground Rules and Disclosure Agreement.

From Director Mitchell:

“The CWCB staff and Board have been moving forward in a process to investigate the feasibility of a demand management program in alignment with the Upper Basin Drought Contingency Plan. The Board and its staff have been in an ongoing conversation with stakeholders across Colorado about how to conduct this investigation transparently in the spirit of the Colorado Water Plan, while also providing space for a deliberative process where participants feel comfortable to freely consider complex, legally sensitive ideas and information.

“While the CWCB was contemplating asking participants to adhere to disclosure agreements out of an abundance of caution, after hearing feedback from our constituents across Colorado, the CWCB will adjust course and move forward without requesting that workgroup participants sign any disclosure agreements. Additionally, the workgroup meetings will be open to members of the public, with an opportunity for comment. As appropriate and dependent on the relevance of the workgroup discussion to interstate considerations, a non-disclosure setting may be necessary for elements of particular workgroup subject matter discussion.

“Each of the groups will work with CWCB staff to develop expectations around participation and communication in this effort. Through this investigation, I have high hopes that the groups will identify the relevant issues associated with the details of a potential demand management program and provide thoughtful feedback for staff and the CWCB Board to consider as we work through a public process with stakeholders to determine if and how demand management should be implemented in Colorado.

“The CWCB Board and State of Colorado will benefit from the workgroup participants’ expertise in Colorado River issues and water management. I have great appreciation for all of the individuals who have generously agreed to participate in the process.

“I recognize the need to maintain transparency and public participation throughout the activities of the CWCB. I appreciate those who reached out to the staff and Board with comments about our initial proposal. I sincerely hope this decision to adjust our direction provides clarity and simplifies the process for those involved in the workgroups. I look forward to continuing a meaningful public process and productive dialogue about the future of water management in Colorado.”

Online Resources: The CWCB hosted an Orientation Webinar for workgroup membership to provide an overview of the Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) process, and how demand management feasibility aligns with other efforts under the Upper Basin DCP. The Webinar also discussed the kickoff of the Workgroup process, and provided information to Workgroup membership about process and procedures. The Webinar was co-hosted in partnership with Colorado Water Congress (thanks, CWC!) The Webinar was open to the public, and the recording can be viewed here.

On July 18, CWCB staff presented on the 2019 Work Plan to the CWCB and the IBCC at the July Joint Meeting. A recording of the presentation can be found here.

First Regional Workshop Scheduled: The first regional workshop has been scheduled for Thursday, August 22nd. This workshop will be held in conjunction with the summer conference of Colorado Water Congress, at the Steamboat Grand Hotel in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. More information about CWC’s Summer Conference can be found here.

Upcoming Events: Colorado River Drought Contingency Planning and demand management feasibility investigation will be on the agenda at the following events:

  • Colorado Water Congress’ Summer Conference, August 20-22, 2019 in Steamboat Springs.
  • As always, keep an eye on basin roundtable agendas. Drought Contingency Planning and demand management feasibility are frequent topics. Roundtable schedules and agendas are available here.
  • For questions, comments, or more information, visit the CWCB website or email demandmanagement@state.co.us.

    The Yampa River Core Trail runs right through downtown Steamboat. Photo credit City of Steamboat Springs.

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