Water is the lifeblood of Colorado, and yet demands for water to support population growth, agriculture, and businesses are increasing—while available water supplies are not.
Climate change is also having a growing impact in an already water-scarce region, and Colorado’s population is predicted to double by 2050. Not surprisingly, water scarcity was found to be one of the top concerns of state residents in the latest Conservation in the West Poll (released by the State of the Rockies Project). The poll also reported that 77 percent of Coloradans support more conservation and water reuse as opposed to only 15 percent who support diverting water from rivers and streams. The good news is that we’ve had a sound first year implementing the state’s new Water Plan and now we need our state Legislature to help.
As Rep. Crisanta Duran and Rep. Lucia Guzman recently wrote in an op-ed published by The Pueblo Chieftain,
“There is both a conservation and economic imperative for implementing the Colorado Water Plan. We absolutely must have healthy rivers to power Colorado’s thriving recreation and tourism economies while also defending our agricultural community’s needs. In 2014, 71.3 million visitors came to Colorado and spent $18.6 billion, much of it on activities in Colorado’s great outdoors. We must ensure our rivers remain healthy so that future generations can continue to enjoy all the benefits our waterways provide.”
Emphasizing that a sustainable water future is not only crucial for economics but also “vital to our local communities and our history as a state,” Duran and Guzman also pointed out that “[the Plan’s] conservation goal for towns and cities equates to nearly 1 percent per year water use reduction by 2050, which, while ambitious, is absolutely achievable.”
Colorado’s landmark Water Plan outlines a balanced and thoughtful approach to ensuring a stable water supply for our communities and growing population. It supports an efficient and prosperous agricultural economy for rural Colorado, and vibrant local communities, and its goals will sustain healthy flowing rivers and streams for our recreation, our vital outdoor economy, and the environment.
But a plan is only as good as its implementation.
Last year, we provided our recommendations to the Colorado Water Conservation Board, which approved a $25 million budget for supporting healthy rivers and helping cities conserve water. If legislators approve the budget, Colorado stands to take a huge leap forward when it comes to protecting our quality of life, world-class river recreation, and the health of the environment.
Please join me in urging your elected representatives to take action–click here to sign the petition. Thank you for joining us to secure Colorado’s water future.