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Colorado's Water Plan: Balancing the Needs of the State

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Monday, March 3, 2014   

EAGLE, Colo. - "Just add water." Simple instructions on the back of your muffin mix, but coming up with the Colorado Water Plan dictated by the Governor last year is proving to be much more complicated. Currently, regional meetings are taking place to put together a plan that will work for the entire state, but Eagle County Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry said she is concerned about the competing needs of the Front Range and the mountain communities.

"The concern is that the water is on the western slope and the people are on the eastern slope," she pointed out. "While it's always a great idea to collaborate and work together, we always are a little protective of the water that we need to keep on the western slope."

According to the Northwest Council of Governments, people incorrectly make several assumptions about water: that population growth can't be contained, that there's plenty of water on the west slope for the Front Range, and that new water projects are needed to save agricultural interests.

The Colorado Water Plan now in the works is the first of its kind and is to be complete by 2015. It will then influence water decisions for the foreseeable future.

Chandler-Henry and others also question predictions that Colorado's population is going to double by 2050.

"We don't think that's necessarily true," she said. "We've has some big changes with the recession recently that have slowed down population growth, and would like to see more land planning, community planning be a part of this whole water discussion."

Colorado water allocation has historically been guided by local governments. Supporters of Colorado's Water Plan say its goal is to get those communities to work more cohesively and streamline efforts to provide adequate water while not compromising the environment.

Link to more information on the Colorado Water Plan at NWCCOG.org and the relevant executive order at 1.usa.gov/NCQbWD.




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