WA-14-2-Colorado Water Planning

WHEREAS reliable, affordable water supplies are foundational to the environment, economy and quality of life in rural Colorado; and

WHEREAS Colorado benefits from a balanced economy, including robust agriculture, natural resources, outdoor industry/recreation, service, and technology sectors; and

WHEREAS the State of Colorado is developing a statewide Water Plan initiated by Governor Hickenlooper through an executive order signed May 13, 2013; and

WHEREAS in calling for the Colorado Water Plan, the Governor’s Executive Order affirmed the following:

Colorado’s water policy must reflect its water values. The Basin Roundtables have discussed and developed statewide and basin-specific water values and the Colorado Water Plan must incorporate the following:

  • a productive economy that supports vibrant and sustainable cities, viable and productive agriculture, and a robust skiing, recreation and tourism industry;
  • efficient and effective water infrastructure promoting smart land use; and
  • a strong environment that includes healthy watersheds, rivers and streams, and wildlife; and

WHEREAS the Colorado Water Plan should draw upon CLUB 20’s Colorado 64 Water Principles, including the following:

  1. All Colorado water users must share in solving Colorado’s water resource problems…
  2. The right of water rights owners to market their water rights must be protected.
  3. Colorado must fully explore flexible, market-based approaches to water supply management, including interruptible water contracts, water banking, in-state water leasing and groundwater recharge management.
  4. Appropriate recognition should be given to preservation of flows necessary to support recreational, hydroelectric and environmental needs concurrent with development of water for beneficial consumptive uses.
  5. Adverse economic, environmental, and social impacts of future water projects and water transfers should be minimized; unavoidable adverse impacts must be reasonably mitigated; all communities involved should commit themselves to identifying and implementing reasonable mitigation measures as an integral part of future water projects or transfers.
  6. Future water supply solutions must benefit both the area of origin and the area of use.
  7. Water conservation measures that do not injure other water rights should be aggressively pursued.
  8. There must be an ongoing, concerted effort to educate all Coloradans on the importance of water, and the need to conserve, manage, and plan for the needs of this and future generations; and

WHEREAS water is fundamental and indispensable to vibrant economies and healthy communities, anchoring the assets that make Colorado unique and provide our competitive advantages;

WHEREAS the population of Colorado is projected by the State Demographer to double in the next 30 years, most of whom will reside along the Front Range;

WHEREAS the past four Colorado Governors, the CWCB, the Roundtables and the IBCC have made minimizing dry-up of agricultural land a statewide priority;

WHEREAS new large uses of water from the Colorado River basin, such as a new transmountain diversion to the Front Range, will affect the existing water supply of essentially all water users in Colorado and is a statewide concern;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that CLUB 20 supports a Colorado Water Plan that:

  • Blueprints the investments in water education, technology, and efficiency that allow Colorado to meet the water demands of a growing population, while minimizing the impact upon our agricultural economy and our natural resources.
  • Provides an outline for meeting individual basin as well as statewide water needs.
  • Details investments necessary to maintain agricultural delivery, irrigation, and reuse, that sustain this foundational industry and Colorado tradition.
  • Prioritizes municipal conservation, including a statewide conservation goal and measurable outcomes, and a higher goal for water providers that are using water supplies of statewide concern such as permanent dry-up of agricultural land and/or need a new trans-mountain diversion from the Colorado River basin.
  • Recognizes that the health and viability of our rivers as natural and economic resources must be prioritized in water policy and management. Recognizes that determinations of whether water is physically and legally available for appropriation, and whether it can and will be put to beneficial use by an appropriator, are to be deferred to the water courts of the State of Colorado in appropriate proceedings as contemplated by our Constitution and laws.
  • That prioritizes the storage of Front Range water on the Front Range.
  • Provides assistance to east slope water providers to plan, design and construct facilities that are identified in the South Platte and Metro Roundtable “Basin Implementation Plans” that maximize the use of east slope water supplies to meet the growing municipal demands.
  • Develops a funding mechanism that allows the State to provide funding for portions of multipurpose projects that do not have repayment ability (e.g. agriculture, recreation).
  • CLUB 20 offers to assist in educating people on the Western Slope about the Colorado Water Plan and Basin Roundtable efforts;

(This resolution was jointly drafted by the CLUB 20 Tourism and Water Committee)

Adopted 9/5/2014

Amended 4/7/2017