At the moment, things aren't looking so hot for Colorado's Water Plan. As prepared and presented by the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the plan is essentially an attempt to manage water scarcity.
At bottom, there are two major interests here: the Western Slope and the Front Range. Both areas obviously value access to water. The question is how much water we'll divert across the mountains to supply residents' taps?
There are a few major points to glean from Bruce Finley's Denver Post report about the plan:
- The projected shortfall is rather sizeable: 160 billion gallons by 2050.
- By that time, there will be an estimated 10 million residents, the majority of whom will likely live in the Front Range cities and suburbs.
- The water plan will need to balance the interests of both the Western Slope and Front Range.
State Lawmakers to the Rescue?
As it happens, Finley predicts that state lawmakers will have to get involved, given the size and scope of the problem: "A Colorado Water Plan lacking support from Front Range cities and suburbs, where 80 percent of the state's 5.3 million people live, could be hard to implement, forcing state lawmakers to try to manage water scarcity."
Lack of Consensus
This lack of support is exactly what we're seeing: As Finley reports, Front Range cities like Denver have made "last minute" objections to the water plan, arguing that the plan must include provisions for new reservoirs and diversion of more water across the mountains.
Of course, this isn't sitting well with the Western Slope. "We stand together," said Silt Mayor Bryan Fleming. "We cannot afford to lose any more water on this side of the mountains."