Colorado Water Plan 2023
2023-02-07 | Dr. John Hopkins
With the steady stream of news about dwindling water resources in the US West, we wanted to direct your attention to how the State of Colorado continues to actively address this critical issue. Between population growth, climate change, extreme drought conditions, aridification, flooding, wildfires, and the over-prescription of Colorado River Basin water supplies, a complex of inter-related problems are stacking up and clearly need our attention.
Following severe drought conditions in the early 2000s, the Colorado legislature initiated a major collective effort to meet the growing water resource challenges. That effort, leading to the original Water Plan—released in 2014—was a product of the largest collaborative civic-engagement process in the state’s history and enlisted basin roundtables, local governments, water providers, other stakeholders, and the wider public. It mapped out specific actions and mechanisms to address the state’s water needs and ensure its sustainable management.
Recently our colleagues over at the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), a state agency within the Department of Natural Resources, released the follow-up Colorado Water Plan 2023.
The 2023 Plan builds on the initial 2014 plan and further enhances community involvement with four focus areas—Vibrant Communities, Robust Agriculture, Thriving Watersheds, and Resilient Planning—through the development of new water projects and the improvement of existing infrastructure to support agricultural, urban, and environmental needs.
Specifically, it outlines strategies to address the state’s water supply challenges, including population growth, drought, and climate change. It also lays out the state’s goals for water conservation, water storage, water quality, and stakeholder engagement. Implementation is driven by extensive public participation in the form of public comments, workshops, and the opportunity to commit to initiatives. Kudos for all who are involved in bringing this critical issue to the forefront of public awareness and collaborative action!
The CGS has long been an active participant in a variety of water-related issues including fundamental research statewide on groundwater, water quality, managed aquifer recharge, and underground storage. Our efforts include the 2020 publication of the comprehensive Colorado Groundwater Atlas, an information nexus for understanding and managing that important water resource.
Further information (see the Citations tab below as well):
CWCB Water Plan Resources and Podcasts — Addresses a wide range of water resource topics along with extra chapter content linked to the 2023 Water Plan.
CWCB Engagement Opportunities — Funding possibilities for active participation in a variety of water resource actions.
Statewide Water Education Plan (SWEAP) — Established by a statewide coalition of educators, provides opportunities for getting involved.
Water Education Colorado — A legislatively formed non-profit committed to “ensuring a sustainable water future for our state by educating and engaging Colorado citizens around this limited resource.” Includes a tremendous range of webinars, fact sheets, broadcasts, citizens guides, and opportunities for direct engagement with community-based initiatives and water resource experts.
Citations, Categories & Tags
aquifer, Colorado River, CWCB, DNR, groundwater, statewide, water, water quality