The new falcon herald logo.
Feature Articles

Governor’s water plan finalized

The basin round table organizations that control water resources in each of the major river basin watersheds are now finalizing their implementation plans for the Colorado Water Plan, a comprehensive statewide water sourcing and use plan.In 2013, Gov. John Hickenlooper directed the Colorado Water Conservation Board to establish a plan, and the CWCB held public town hall meetings and met with major stakeholder organizations to create the draft water plan. The board completed the draft plan in December and submitted it to the river basin round table organizations so they could generate implementation plans for their areas.ìWe are impressed by the hard work and thoughtful improvements that are coming from the basins,î said James Eklund, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board. ìThe extensive outreach people did was impressive. No one is saying, ëYeah, we’re done!’ but rather asking, ëWhere do we go from here to reach implementation.íîThe Arkansas Basin Round Table, which covers much of southeastern Colorado, including most of El Paso County, submitted the basin implementation plan to the Colorado Water Conservation Board in April. The ABRT has 40 voting members from across the Arkansas basin. Memberships are assigned by county, municipal water systems, conservation districts and at-large positions for industries that include agriculture, recreation and industrial use, according to the membership roster.Colorado’s geographical position as the headwaters for several major rivers that ìdownstreamî states depend on creates challenges for state water use, Eklund said. ìIf we’re going to have a strong position for negotiations on the nine interstate compacts, we need to have our house in order,î he said. ìThe plan is going to talk also about our challenges on the Colorado River in particular. Each of those compacts has its challenges, but the Colorado is in the spotlight because of the 500-year drought in California. We want to make sure we face those challenges as one state, rather than a balkanized state of basins.îThe eastern half of the state is split between the Arkansas basin to the south and the South Platte River basin to the north. The Arkansas basin, which includes Falcon and Colorado Springs, is the largest geographic basin. Water use in the Arkansas is governed by the Arkansas River Compact of 1948 between Colorado and Kansas. In 1995, when Kansas discovered that Colorado water users were depleting flows at the state line, the state sued Colorado in federal court. ìIf we violate a compact, it wouldn’t be our first rodeo,î Eklund said. ìThe U.S. Supreme Court said we owed Kansas monetary damages for our overuse of the Arkansas.îìCompact requirements, existing uses and water rights results in little to no water availability for new uses,î according to the Basin Challenges document. ìGrowth in the headwaters region will present challenges to securing water for new demands.îThe basin round table meetings have been open to public comment, including water rights holders, to balance the needs of agricultural interests, urban growth and the area’s responsibilities to Kansas and other downstream users. ìGrowth in urban areas, as well as replenishment of existing municipal supplies, will result in an increase in the demand for municipal water supplies,î according to the Arkansas round table’s Major Issues findings. ìThere are already supply gaps in some areas. Conservation is part, but not all, of the solution to meeting future needs.îNow that the basin implementation plans are complete, the next round of public comment on the statewide water plans begins. The public comment period for the first draft of the plan released in December begins May 1. Once the basin implementation plans are incorporated into the plan, the second draft will be released July 15. ìOur intent is to try to make sure we’ve reflected the refinements accurately in the next draft of the plan and get it on the street in July and receive another round of public comment,î Eklund said. ìAnd then get the final draft whipped into shape in the fall.î The final Colorado Water Plan will be submitted to the governor Dec. 10.Comments about the water plan can be submitted online at

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers