Western Water Plans: how does the #Colorado Water Plan compare to our neighbors? — @WaterEdCO #COWaterPlan @CWCB_DNR

This figure captures when the most recent water plan was published for each of these five Western states, as well as the length of the planning cycle. Colorado’s first comprehensive state plan was published in 2015, and set a seven-year planning cycle. Graphic credit: Water Education Colorado

From Water Education Colorado (Hannah O’Neill, Bianca Valdez and Jakki Davison):

This four-part series contrasts the processes behind the Colorado Water Plan with four other recent western water plans: California, Texas, Montana and Oregon.

State water plans account for contemporary water resource challenges, detail supply projections and future demands, and catalyze community discussions around cooperative management. How does the Colorado Water Plan—both the final document and the planning processes involved—compare to other Western states?

As we approach the second iteration of the Colorado Water Plan (set to begin in 2020, per the schedule outlined in the 2015 water plan), this blog series will explore a diversity of water planning processes. There are currently 17 U.S. states with water plans. Here, we explore five Western state plans that were all published in the last five years: Colorado, Oregon, Montana, Texas and California.

What’s in a water plan?

State water plans identify current water demands, project future water supply, and explore potential water projects that will close the gap between projections of future needs and availability. Every state water plan is unique and is largely rooted in the political context of an individual state. Creating a state water plan involves an enormous amount of stakeholder engagement and number crunching in order to understand statewide trends in population, climate and hydrology; articulate state and regional values with regards to water consumption and diversion; and identify both broad regional goals and local water projects to meet those goals.

Unique Western states; unique water resource challenges

Importantly, the states featured in this blog series represent two different legal frameworks in how water rights are administered: Colorado, Oregon and Montana operate under prior appropriation, while Texas and California operate under a dual regime of riparian rights and prior appropriation. Prior appropriation, or “first in time, first in right,” allocates water based on the chronology of water diversions for “beneficial use,” or the public good. In contrast to prior appropriation, riparian rights governance associates the ownership of water rights with the ownership of land adjacent to water bodies. Proposed water policies and projects are fundamentally shaped by how water rights are defined; in this manner, the legal framework within a given state provides essential context for how planning processes are applied.

Each state planning process is informed by the state’s unique combination of legal doctrine of water governance, history of water planning and development, and current statewide priorities. Every state is working to meet unique planning and regulatory requirements in the implementation of water projects and programs; the discussion of differences within this blog series is not intended to imply differences in plan quality. Like any good policy, the water plans reviewed here all aim to keep pace with emergent environmental, social and fiscal needs.

In the following three blog posts, we will contrast distinguishing components of these five Western water plans in order to better understand the planning process in Colorado. The focus of our discussion will contrast various strategies for executing regional engagement, modeling future scenarios, and incorporating uncertainty; all across our five states of interest: Colorado, Texas, Montana, Oregon and California.

Our next post, to be published the week of December 2, 2019, will contrast regional engagement strategies across Western water plans.

This series was developed by Hannah O’Neill, Bianca Valdez, and Jakki Davison, three graduate students studying environmental policy at the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Masters of the Environment program.

#Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment: : 2020 NPS Watershed Implementation Projects Funding Announcement

From email from CDPHE:

We are now accepting applications for watershed implementation projects that address water quality impairments caused by nonpoint sources of selenium, sediment, pathogens and/or nutrients OR protect waterbodies currently meeting water quality standards from degradation due to nonpoint sources of pollution.

Please visit: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/nonpoint-source -funding-opportunities for application and reference materials.

Applications must be submitted to cdphe_wqcd_nonpointsource+managers@state.co.us by February 3rd, 2020 at 5pm (MST).

Please direct questions regarding the RFA to Estella Moore at estella.moore@state.co.us by January 7, 2020 at 5pm (MST). Answers to those questions will be posted on http://npscolorado.com on January 15, 2020.

View of runoff, also called nonpoint source pollution, from a farm field in Iowa during a rain storm. Topsoil as well as farm fertilizers and other potential pollutants run off unprotected farm fields when heavy rains occur. (Credit: Lynn Betts/U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service/Wikimedia Commons)

“If we don’t have a planet, we’re not going to have a very good financial system” — James Gorman #ActOnClimate #KeepItInTheGround

Model reconstruction of global temperature since 1970. Average of the models in black with model range in grey compared to observational temperature records from NASA, NOAA, HadCRUT, Cowtan and Way, and Berkeley Earth. Carbon Brief, CC BY

From The Guardian (Damian Carrington):

Bank of England governor warns of financial collapse linked to climate emergency

  • Top asset managers oversee $300bn fossil fuel investments
  • Why are asset managers investing in fossil fuel companies?
  • Companies and industries that are not moving towards zero-carbon emissions will be punished by investors and go bankrupt, the governor of the Bank of England has warned.

    Mark Carney also told the Guardian it was possible that the global transition needed to tackle the climate crisis could result in an abrupt financial collapse. He said the longer action to reverse emissions was delayed, the more the risk of collapse would grow.

    Carney has led efforts to address the dangers global heating poses to the financial sector, from increasing extreme weather disasters to a potential fall in asset values such as fossil fuel company valuations as government regulations bite. The Guardian revealed last week that just 20 fossil fuel companies have produced coal, oil and gas linked to more than a third of all emissions in the modern era.

    The Bank of England has said up to $20tn (£16tn) of assets could be wiped out if the climate emergency is not addressed effectively. But Carney also said great fortunes could be made by those working to end greenhouse gas emissions with a big potential upside for the UK economy in particular.

    In an interview with the Guardian, Carney said disclosure by companies of the risks posed by climate change to their business was key to a smooth transition to a zero-carbon world as it enabled investors to back winners…

    US coal companies had already lost 90% of their value, he noted, but banks were also at risk. “Just like in any other major structural change, those banks overexposed to the sunset sectors will suffer accordingly,” he told the Guardian.

    The central bank governor said transition to net zero carbon emissions would change the value of every asset, raising the risk of shocks to the financial system…

    Far from damaging the global economy, climate action bolsters economic growth, according to Carney. “There is a need for [action] to achieve net zero emissions, but actually it comes at a time when there is a need for a big increase in investment globally to accelerate the pace of global growth, to help get global interest rates up, to get us out of this low-growth, low-interest-rate trap we are in.”

    Failing to act would have severe consequences, he said. “I don’t normally quote bankers, but James Gorman, who is the CEO of Morgan Stanley, said the other day: ‘If we don’t have a planet, we’re not going to have a very good financial system.’ Ultimately, that is true.”