According to recent study for the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), Colorado’s population has surpassed 5 million people and is expected to nearly double by 2050. The future population centers are expected to be in the metro areas of the Arkansas and South Platte Basins while the West Slope is expected to see the highest rate of population growth. Although the statewide municipal and industrial water usage rates have decreased by 18 percent since the Statewide Water Supply Initiative (SWSI) Phase 1 efforts, the increased populations are expected to cause water use to nearly double by 2050. There is an identified gap between the anticipated water supplies and the anticipated future water demands. In part because of concerns over Colorado’s projected growing demand for water, Colorado has undertaken development of the State Water Plan.
Through Colorado’s State Water Plan and the associated Basin Implementation Plan process, the water supply gap, among other concerns, is being addressed. Each of the nine Basin Roundtable groups (Arkansas, Colorado, Gunnison, Metro, North Platte, Rio Grande, South Platte, Southwest [San Juan and Dolores], and Yampa-White-Green) will have a Basin Implementation Plan - a less formal, working document identifying priorities and addressing concerns of the basin and including a list of Identified Projects and Processes (known as IPPs) which include storage projects and conservation measures. The State Water Plan, incorporating each Basin Implementation Plan, is scheduled to be sent to the governor in draft form in December 2014 and in final form in December 2015. The Basin Implementation Plans are going through their respective Roundtable Boards and were submitted to the CWCB in July, and additional sections of the Water Plan were released in September. The public comment deadlines vary for each component of the plan and continue into 2015. In 2014, comments will be considered until early November. The CWCB encourages interested parties to attend Roundtable meetings or submit comments through the Colorado Water Plan website. If you would like to discuss Colorado’s Water Plan, feel free to contact us.
Sources: CWCB, State of Colorado 2050 Municipal & Industrial Water Use Projections, July 2010 and www.coloradowaterplan.com.