Legislative committee taking 
comments on state water plan

The Colorado Water Plan has been around for a few years, but the time has come for the Legislature’s Water Resources Review Committee to look at any new issues that plan needs to address.

And the public has until Friday to submit comments to that end.

Under a bill approved by the Legislature in 2014 a year before the plan was implemented, the committee that reviews and suggests new legislation dealing with water issues is required to review specific elements of the plan.

Although it is not required to, the committee then can suggest bills altering that plan, but such measures would require the full approval of the Legislature and the governor.

The committee is scheduled to vote on final recommendations on the plan on Oct. 5.

The current plan, called for by Gov. John Hickenlooper back in 2013, sets a number of goals for water basins in the state to meet by 2050 in order to ensure there is enough water for a growing population, while still maintaining adequate in-stream flows for environmental and recreational purposes.

A new report released earlier this month updating how the plan is being implemented says those goals are being met.

The plan addresses several areas of water use, from municipal to agricultural.

It calls for reducing the supply-demand gap for municipal and industrial needs from 560,000 acre-feet of water by 2030 to zero. An acre-foot of water is equivalent to about 326,000 gallons. A typical family of four might use about 117,000 gallons of water in a year.

To help reach that goal, the state so far has awarded $21 million in grants and $65 million in low-interest loans for various projects, including for conservation efforts and new storage. Most of that new storage was from expanding the capacity of existing reservoirs.

A state law centering on public review and continuing legislative approval of the plan calls on the Legislature to update it every five years. That law also allows any member of the General Assembly to request a public hearing on any element of the plan each year, and lets the water committee suggest new legislation altering the plan.

To comment on the plan or make suggestions for how it should be changed, go to tinyurl.com/ya5rezod.


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