The Colorado Water Plan: From Ideas to Action
The recently completed Colorado Water Plan is the state’s comprehensive plan for future water use. It is filled with innovative concepts and ideas, but it is only a guiding policy document. TU has identified three goals from “Chapter 10-Critical Action Plan” that, if achieved, can provide for healthy communities and the healthy rivers they rely on. To realize these goals and achieve water security and economic health in western Colorado, diverse interest groups must work together.
Goal #1. Funding for irrigation modernization. TU believes that Colorado lawmakers should provide new funding mechanisms that enable willing farmers and ranchers to modernize and upgrade irrigation infrastructure and implement innovative water management practices that benefit both producer operations and river health.
Goal #2. Compensation for un-diverted water and protection of water rights. TU believes that Colorado water leaders should create funding mechanisms to compensate producers who leave water in the channel or in storage without injury to other water rights holders. Moreover, those producers that leave water in-channel or in storage should have their water right protected under the prior appropriation system.
Goal #3. Increased funding for stream management plans. TU believes that the General Assembly and CWCB should provide increased funding for stream management plans (SMPs), water planning efforts for western Colorado’s diverse communities and their home river basins. Further, SMPs should be structured to include all basin stakeholders in water management decisions and to ensure that all local water needs are met in the face of increasing regional demands. Communities that speak with a common voice will have greater control over their water futures.
Why are we doing this?
The Colorado River Basin is running out of water. We’re asking West Slope water users, from agricultural producers and irrigators to municipalities and businesses, to support these goals and urge Colorado’s water leaders to develop programs that enable western Colorado to protect existing uses, meet future needs and protect the state’s most valuable resource, its rivers and streams. If you agree, write a letter, make a statement or contact a water leader directly. You can also leave a comment here.