GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- State leaders celebrated the completion of Colorado’s first ever water plan, a comprehensive approach to solving the state’s future water supply gap.
State projections indicated by the year 2050, Colorado would have a supply gap of about 560,000 acre-feet of water. That is equivalent to about 180 billion gallons of water per year.
Hannah Holm, the coordinator of the Hutchins Water Center at Colorado Mesa University, has followed the plan’s development since 2013. As 80 percent of the the state’s water lies on the Western Slope, Holm said the Western Slope had two major concerns for the plan.
The first: will agriculture areas be dried up to go urban areas? Holm said the plan is attempting to implement tools for alternative transfer methods, which is when farms provide a portion of water on a temporary basis to urban areas, instead of selling water rights permanently. Holm said this prevents buying out and drying up specific pieces of land.
The second: transmountain diversion, where water is taken from the Western Slope and brought to the Eastern Slope. Holm said the plan does not contain any endorsement for any project like it.
Nothing in this plan is mandated, but it does encourage local communities to combine water and land use planning to reduce outdoor water uses and encourage water recycling.
More information on the plan can be found at: http://coloradowaterplan.com/