The Colorado Water Plan got a kickstart with $17 million added to the initial $3 million authorized by the Water Supply Reserve Fund. The additional funding request came from Gov. Jared Polis, who believes the monies are needed to support successful farming and ranching, support communities, ensure that watersheds are thriving, and boost climate resilience preparation. The $20 million will be used for Colorado River basin-wide and local community projects, focusing on drought resilience and infrastructure repairs.
“In Colorado, water is life, and we are excited to make this important investment in our water future,” Polis said. “Prolonged drought and aging water infrastructure are major barriers to achieving that vision, particularly as Coloradans face a future with more people sharing less water. We remain undaunted by that challenge, and I’m excited that together we can help overcome these barriers by investing needed resources and seizing upon opportunities to secure funds for locally-driven aging infrastructure and drought resiliency projects.”
The Colorado Water Plan was first announced in 2015 but is undergoing significant updates that will be released next year. It aims to address and solve the ongoing water supply gap.
The detailed blueprint will offer tools to address current issues, including policy changes, water storage, public education, endangered species protection, and natural hazard plans.
The plan also outlines a new approach to conservation, reuse, sharing, infrastructure, and watershed restoration. It includes the development of local water roadmaps to better identify chronic and acute supply issues. Much of the new funding comes from severance tax and is focused on helping Colorado’s communities.
“This infusion of funding will directly positively impact Colorado’s local communities as they continue to experience the effects of a continued drought first-hand,” said Becky Mitchell, Colorado Water Conservation Board director. “Supported projects will include improving water delivery infrastructure for efficiency and resilience in both cities and agricultural areas.”
Photo Courtesy Colorado Water Conservation Board
The plan is designed to work in tandem with recommended actions for Colorado’s citizens. Whether it’s a suburban dweller using less water on their lawn, an urban planner leveraging water-conscious landscapes, or a farmer using sustainable irrigation methods, residents must adopt more of a stewardship mindset focused on protecting the state’s fragile watersheds. The goal is for the state to have enough of the precious resource to support its future needs.