Recent population growth projections from the State Demographers office indicate that Colorado might see a doubling of our population by 2050. Combined with pressures from climate change (which likely mean reduced precipitation in this region), new precipitation patterns, and earlier runoff due to warmer spring months, Colorado faces a stark and drier future.
This week many of the State’s water leaders are meeting in Steamboat Springs as part of regular meetings of both the Interbasin Compact Committee (IBCC) and the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB).On Monday the discussion centered around meeting Colorado’s water needs for the future. Choices about our water usage will become increasingly more important, and we can’t afford to make bad decisions.
As Harris Sherman (outgoing DNR director, and new Obama Appointee) notes, we’re all in the same boat together, and we have to start recognizing the impacts our decisions make on each other and on our surroundings.
Colorado is currently pondering several large scale water supply projects, all of which impact our environment in various ways. CEC, along with our coalition partners, outlined our approach to meeting these needs in our 2005 report Facing Our Future, and we continue to work to implement these ideas for “smart” water solutions.
We haven’t fixed it all yet, but we’re making steady (and, yes, slow) progress. The fact that the state is having these conversations in a more meaningful way, that water providers are inviting groups like ours to provide comments and feedback before they announce projects, and the leadership that Harris Sherman and others have shown for protecting ALL uses of water in Colorado are signs that maybe this issue is starting to turn. It’s a long road forward though, and while the conversations are starting, we haven’t had immediate successes, and it may be years before we know if the work we do today will really help protect our resources tomorrow.
Stay tuned for how you can help… if you’re not already a member be sure to sign up for the Water Action Network (WAN) and we’ll keep you posted on when and how you can get involved in making sure that Colorado does it right!