What is Colorado’s Water Plan?

Colorado’s Water Plan (CWP) is a state driven initiative to establish greater security in state water supplies, while maintaining a healthy and productive environment. The challenges addressed by the plan include: the increasing gap between water supply and demand, the permanent drying up of agricultural land, and greater uncertainty caused by drought and climate change. Through increased conservation and efficiency, as well as new sources of water, the gap will hopefully be diminished. As the plan has a focus on the public’s water supply, ditch and reservoir companies need a prominent seat at the table in the development of the CWP. A draft of the plan is due December 2014 to the office of Governor Hickenlooper.

DARCA’s Role:

DARCA is playing multiple roles in the Colorado Water Plan. First, DARCA is hosting free workshops to inform and solicit input from ditch and reservoir companies regarding the state plan. The second role is the generation of topics and ideas through the ongoing DARCA State Water Plan Committee. Compiling the input, DARCA will organize, synthesize and submit its recommendation for the CWP.

Why it’s important:

It is essential that ditch companies, and their farmer/rancher base, become better informed about the Colorado State Water Plan. More importantly, it is critical that these water rights’ holders become stakeholders in the planning process. DARCA will be compiling this input from the ditch companies and will relay this information to officials working with the Colorado State Water Plan through a written report and oral presentations. This information will include recommendations regarding:

(1) Preventing dry up of agricultural lands;

(2) Increasing investments in ditch upgrades in order to save water

(3) Promoting alternative transfer methods of agricultural water;

(4) Increasing urban efficiency and reuse

(5) Incorporating risk and uncertainty into water plan decision making

(6) Other recommendations that will arise out of the interaction with ditch company representatives.