Colorado Water
Dazed and confused coverage of water issues in Colorado

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

A picture named coloradoriverbasins.jpg

Here's an article from today's Rocky Mountain News with an overview of plans for the future with respect to water use. They write, "In the ongoing search for water to stave off looming shortages, at least one thing is becoming clear: Everyone will have to give up something to keep Colorado wet. Based on an array of possible options unveiled recently by state officials: Front Range homeowners may have to live with limited outdoor watering every year - not just in superdry seasons - and water bills could soar; Farmers will likely learn to love their city cousins as they forge lucrative farm-to-city water-sharing deals, but irrigated farmlands will undoubtedly shrink as a result; And mountain communities may see more of their water go to the Front Range in exchange for cash, new reservoirs at home and extra water for their gold medal streams and fisheries...

"Colorado will see water demand surge 53 percent by 2030, when the state will need about 630,000 acre-feet of water, according to projections in the $3.5 million Statewide Water Supply Initiative authorized by lawmakers in 2003. Cities believe they can meet the need for roughly half that amount with projects already under way, but right now West Slope and Front Range communities don't know how they will supply the rest - about 315,000 acre-feet more. Most, but not all, of the demand for new water supplies comes from the Front Range, although West Slope and rural communities also face water shortages. By August, technical groups representing each of Colorado's eight major river basins will present a sort of water menu to a supercommittee charged by lawmakers with heading off the shortages and helping the state's warring regions craft cooperative water deals...

"On this menu are: Water conservation plans that could shave use by 75,000 to 160,000 acre-feet, depending on how much communities opt to restrict water use; Plans to tap farm water supplies either by drying up farmland or through water-sharing agreements that would allow the water to be piped back and fourth between farm communities and urban areas as needed; Roughly 100,000 to 300,000 acre- feet could be supplied this way, depending how much farmland is involved; Several old - and very controversial - proposals to develop major public water projects by moving water from faraway river basins, some from remote mountain communities, some from the far eastern and southeastern plains...

"As much as 200,000 acre feet might be developed this way. But the costs are staggering - from $2 billion to $20 billion, depending on location and size of the project. Even talking about such massive projects is raising hackles in the environmental community and among water-rich rural players, all of whom have been participating in the statewide water study and public roundtables. More than 300 Coloradans are participating in the $3.5 million effort. Environmentalists and rural groups believe that any mass movement of water could forever alter Colorado's already stressed mountain wildlands and resort regions."

Category: Colorado Water

6:46:20 AM    

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