This year, we’ve seen raging wildfires harm our forests and waterways, increasingly severe droughts put our farms and ranches at risk, and decreasing water supplies threaten our long-term water security. Colorado’s communities struggle more as a result of climate change with each passing year and are understandably wary of what’s to come. Even so, communities are stepping up and taking action by proposing, planning, and executing local projects that safeguard water systems and support Colorado’s rivers. Advocating for and investing in these projects is one of the most effective ways to help mitigate the effects of climate change and make our rivers and our communities more resilient. This election, each of us must step up for our waterways and use our vote to advocate for Colorado’s rivers–on which we all depend.
Earlier this year, we launched our interactive Colorado Water Plan Grant Projects Map, a resource for all Coloradans, from citizens and community leaders to decision-makers and river advocates, to learn more about the work happening across Colorado to ensure we have ample clean water supplies alongside healthy flowing rivers. The water Coloradans use to drink, irrigate crops, recreate, and sustain our communities is water that we share with wildlife that depend on our rivers, streams, and lakes. To protect these precious resources, the state’s Water Plan Implementation Grant Program provides funds for local projects that will improve stream flows, decrease pollution, and ensure we have ample clean water for decades to come.
This interactive map shows the projects that have been awarded grants via the state’s Water Plan Implementation Fund as well as potential future projects that have been developed by local stakeholders demonstrating the need for additional funding. The Water for Colorado Coalition worked with several communities to further highlight seven projects on our website with short videos that show how beneficial these projects have been for the health of their rivers and the quality of life of their residents. Here are a few examples:
- Redburn Ranch (Upper Dolores River): Over time, high flows in the Upper Dolores River built a rock dam, impeding fish migration along the river. Restoration efforts funded by the Colorado Water Plan have alleviated the problem, benefitting local landowners by increasing access to water used for irrigation and enhanced fishing opportunities. Watch the Video Here.
- Middle Colorado Water Plan: A multi-use project, the Middle Colorado Water Plan assesses the Colorado River mainstem and other important tributaries, as well as conducts agricultural research to better identify projects that benefit irrigation infrastructure. The various projects in this plan benefit a wide range of water users thanks to funding from the Colorado Water Plan. Watch the Video Here.
- Weaver Ditch Project: Funds from the Colorado Water Plan have supported the Weaver Ditch Project in restoring the natural flows of the Crystal River and protecting the animals dependent upon them. This project aims to connect people to the Crystal River, the source of the Weaver Ditch’s water. Watch the Video Here.
These projects can help make our communities more sustainable, ensure safe drinking water for all Coloradans, help our economy thrive, and protect water resources and wild ecosystems for future generations. The map has all the information you need to learn more about local efforts to conserve and protect water, as well as videos that tell these communities’ stories and show the beautiful rivers these projects have benefited.
As this year’s election draws near, don’t miss your chance to take action for Colorado’s water future. Check out our voting resources page to find information and links to help you make a plan to vote this election. Investing in projects like the ones mentioned above will protect clean drinking water, protect against flooding, and help local economies and fish and wildlife habitat for future generations. Be an advocate for Colorado’s rivers–and vote your whole ballot! And make sure your friends and family have a plan to vote, too.
Take action for your rivers this election – visit our Water for Colorado Voting page for resources and make a plan to vote today.