Click the link to read the article on The Durango Telegraph website (Jonathan Romeo). Here’s an excerpt:
An unprecedented amount of people are moving to Durango and La Plata County, but with the increasing effects of drought across the region, is there enough water to support them all? For years, population growth and new development were already on the rise in Southwest Colorado, but the effects of the pandemic accelerated that buildup as more people left urban areas and sought out desirable mountain towns…
In just the past few weeks, a number of large-scale development projects have been proposed: 800 units south of town on the Isgar property near La Posta Road; another 500 apartments in Three Springs; and nearly 80 apartments and townhomes near the old Mercury Building. And that’s not to mention the onslaught of scattered development around town and in the county. All this raises a fair question: does the region, which has experienced a 23-year drought believed to be the worst since 800 AD, have enough water to sustain it all?
“Climate change is the big unknown,” Steve Wolff, general manager of the Southwest Water Conservation District, said. “We’ve already seen our overall available water supplies decline.”
One thing that’s for sure, the Durango migration can’t be turned off like a faucet.
“You can’t stop people from moving here; that’s not an option,” Kevin Reidy, Colorado Water Conservation Board’s water conservation specialist, said. “So we have to figure out the most water-efficient way to build new communities and start thinking about what rabbits we can pull out of a hat to make this work better.”