Western Resource Advocates and Conservation Colorado water experts offered preliminary responses to this week’s release of eight draft Basin Implementation Plans – local level plans in each major river basin across Colorado addressing future water supply and river health.
Overview of the Plans
“Several of the local water plans would leave us high, dry and broke. Most of these plans continue to presume high water usage, dry up our rivers, and call for expensive trans-mountain water diversions that would leave us broke.” – Theresa Conley, Water Advocate for Conservation Colorado.
“Governor Hickenlooper and the state water board need to raise all boats. The state-wide water plan needs to show leadership if we are to move beyond the status quo and ensure a reliable water future. Some local water plans had strong elements but they don’t add-up to an adequate plan for our state.” – Bart Miller, Water Program Director at Western Resource Advocates.
“The South Platte/Metro Basin Plan fails to commit to strong municipal conservation. We need the state to lead like the Colorado River Basin Plan does. This local plan from the West Slope prioritized water conservation, addresses land use planning’s role in water conservation, and clearly indicates this is not only doable but necessary.” – Bart Miller
Health of Our Rivers
“The Governor needs to step in to ensure we take action to protect our rivers and their high economic, recreational, and environmental values. While many of the plans discuss the importance of rivers, there are few specific actions to ensure water will actually BE in the rivers.” – Theresa Conley
“The Yampa/White Basin Plan does a good job quantifying the water needs of rivers and the impacts of projects to rivers. Our State Water Plan should follow this lead.” – Bart Miller
Trans Mountain Diversions
“The Trans Mountain Diversions proposed in the Arkansas and South Platte/Metro’s plans would be expensive, time-consuming and controversial. There are a broad array of alternatives that are faster, better, and cheaper for taxpayers and rate payers. The Colorado, Gunnison and Yampa Basin plans, in contrast, spell out local solutions to meet future water needs without a major Trans Mountain Diversion. South Platte/Metro’s water plan relies on others to fix their problem. They need to float their own boat before asking others to do it for them.” – Bart Miller