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Celebrate WATER FLUENCY Colorado Basin Roundtable in cooperation with the Negotiating our Water Future in Colorado & the Colorado River Basin Water 2012.org.

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Presentation on theme: "Celebrate WATER FLUENCY Colorado Basin Roundtable in cooperation with the Negotiating our Water Future in Colorado & the Colorado River Basin Water 2012.org."— Presentation transcript:

1 Celebrate WATER FLUENCY Colorado Basin Roundtable in cooperation with the Negotiating our Water Future in Colorado & the Colorado River Basin Water 2012.org

2 Overview Colorado Water Overview (Water 2012 Speakers Bureau – statewide education effort) Water supply challenges In Colorado Basin-wide Constraints on water use The Colorado Basin’s predicament Statewide water planning/ seeking solutions: Key Players Basin Roundtable role Trade-offs How you can participate

3 Celebrate…because water is important for all that we do

4 Celebrate…because Colorado is a headwaters state Snow falls in the mountainsBuilds as snowpack

5 And drains in the spring and summer. Nourishing 19 states and Mexico

6 Celebrate… because water has shaped Colorado’s history Since the beginnings of settlement, mining and agriculture © Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library.

7 Then what’s the problem?

8 Population is increasing but there’s no “new” water Many uses compete for a scarce and limited water supply Municipal & Industrial 9% Agriculture 86% Recreation Environment 8

9 Colorado’s “Gap”

10 Colorado River Basin Gap – it’s already here:

11 This year – we dodged a bullet:

12 Constraints on water use: Solutions must recognize existing laws and agreements Colorado Water Law Colorado River Basin Compact

13 Basics of Colorado Water Law: First in time, first in right Water rights are property rights.

14 1922 Compact: Upper Basin states must “not cause the flow of the River at Lee Ferry to be depleted below an aggregate of 75,000,000 acre feet in any 10 consecutive years.”

15 Colorado Basin’s Predicament The 80/20 problem Stresses Water Planning/ Seeking Solutions

16 - 80% of Colorado’s population is on the Front Range. - 80% of Colorado’s precipitation falls on the Western Slope.

17 Result: Transmountain Diversions

18 Full report available at: Figures from report “Water and its Relationship to the Economies of the Headwaters Counties,” commissioned by the Northwest Colorado Council of governments.

19 Stresses Headwaters: Low, Flat Flows Flows reduced by transmountain diversions. Ecosystem impacts: degraded habitat for fish, riparian vegetation Economic impacts: impediment to growth, tourism Middle section: Flows depend on Shoshone Call Water quality concerns: natural gas drilling, saline springs Rapid population growth Lower section: Flows depend on Cameo, Shoshone Salts and selenium leach into river when water percolates through soils. Less high-mountain water makes river saltier.

20 CO Water Planning - Key Players Interest GroupsInstitutions Water utilities Farmers Industry Environmental Advocates Recreation Advocates Local governments CO Water Conservation Board (CWCB): State studies & funding Basin Roundtables: Stakeholder groups established by the legislature for “bottom-up” planning Inter-basin Compact Committee (IBCC): Roundtable of Roundtables

21 ConservationAg to Urban Transfers New Projects (Colorado Basin development) Roundtables developed preferred portfolios of these elements to fill the gap & contribute to a statewide water plan scheduled for completion in IBCC called for the “4-legged stool” Already planned projects (Windy Gap firming, Moffat Collection System, others) plus:

22 Colorado Basin Roundtable: Seeking Solutions Assessing Needs Consumptive needs: “the gap” inside the basin is manageable Water & energy study: appears to be enough water in the Yampa/White Basin to support oil shale development Non-consumptive: mapping attributes+ flow evaluation tool Funding Projects Reservoir enlargements Watershed planning Studies Projects to address environmental and recreational needs Planning and Negotiating Analyzing the Gap Weighing Trade-offs Negotiating with other Basin Roundtables

23 Trade-off issues: Agricultural losses east of the divide generally go up as Colorado River Water development goes down. Agriculture on the Western Slope is highly inter-dependent with agriculture on the eastern plains. Many are worried about risk: To eastern plains agriculture if we “underdevelop” the Colorado. Of a “compact curtailment” if we overdevelop it. Disagreement over how much can be saved via conservation: more regulation may be required for bigger savings.

24 How You Can Participate: Monitor developments via e-newsletter; sign up at to subscribe. Attend Colorado Basin Roundtable meetings: 4 th Monday each month, 1-4pm, Glenwood Springs Community Center Talk to your Basin Roundtable Representatives. Find the list at: Water2012.org


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