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Colorado releases state-of-the-art analysis to provide better planning for state’s water supply

Posted at 5:22 PM, Jul 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-23 19:22:09-04

DENVER – A new, state-of-the-art analysis released Monday by Colorado Water Conservation officials is hoping to help local water basins, elected officials and other stakeholders make more informed decisions about Colorado’s water future.

The state’s water conservation board says their analysis and technical update to the Colorado Water Plan helps provide modeling tools and new data to an increasing growing population as well as an increasing hotter planet.

The analysis and technical update estimates future available water supplies and gaps under five planning scenarios described in the Water Plan, according to a news release from the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

Colorado water officials say over the past decade, the state has experienced severe drought, extreme flooding, an increasing population and a variable economy, presenting them with unique problems when planning for Colorado’s water future.

Among some of the key findings in the analysis?

The state faces a municipal and industrial gap between 250,000 to 750,000 acre-feet of water by the year 2050, when the population of Colorado is expected to reach 8.5 million.

Additionally, the state is expected to experience potentially drier conditions in the late summer months and peak runoff as much as one month earlier, which could have several different implications for water storage, irrigation and streamflow.

Aquatic life may also be at risk under an increasing hotter temperature, as peak runoff flows may result in possible mismatches between peak flow timing and a species’ needs – resulting in risk for coldwater and warmwater fish that rely in a certain water temperature and habitat to thrive.

To learn more about the analysis and technical update to the Colorado Water Plan, click here.

Colorado Water officials said Monday releasing the plan is the first step in updating the Colorado Water Plan.

Next, each basin would need to get together to incorporate the new data into their Basin Implementation Plans so they can work together to identify projects that address gaps and other priority basin needs.

State water officials say those updated plans lead into a comprehensive update of the Colorado Water Plan by November 2022 – the seventh anniversary of the plan.