Unless you’ve been living off-the-grid in a far corner of our beautiful state, you know that the Colorado Water Conservation Board is leading an effort to craft Colorado’s Water Plan.
After almost a decade of work, nine Basin Roundtables have crafted individual plans that will offer solutions for how each basin’s future water needs will be addressed at the local level. These ‘Basin Implementation Plans’ will then be incorporated into Colorado’s Water Plan, with a draft due in December 2014. There have been over 100 meetings held by the roundtables to educate about the plan and offer opportunities for input since Summer 2013.
Now that the roundtables have submitted their draft plans, and are taking a breather to regroup, the State Legislature is picking up the task of gathering additional public input. To ensure full dialogue on Colorado’s Water Plan, as well as to engage House and Senate members in the drafting and review of the plan, the State Legislature passed Senate Bill 14-115 in the 2014 session. The bill sets up meetings between the general public and the Water Resources Review Committee of the Legislature in each of Colorado’s river basins between June and October of 2014.
How are these meetings different than the ones held by the roundtables? First of all, it’s your opportunity to speak directly with elected officials about what constitutes optimum state water policy. The legislators on the committee will consider your comments in their drafting of feedback to the CWCB regarding the scope, fundamental approach and basic elements of Colorado’s Water Plan. Secondly, your comments can now include any reaction you may have to the draft Basin Implementation Plans submitted by the nine Roundtables.
The Chair of this year’s Water Resources Review Committee, Rep. Randy Fischer of Ft. Collins, is genuine in his desire to get outside the echo chamber regarding state water policy. The Roundtables did an admirable job of this in their first set of public meetings. This second opportunity for input is a chance for those who did not participate earlier in the process to learn, understand and be heard. Its also a chance to reinforce your thoughts about the draft Basin Implementation Plans if you’ve already provided input.
Here is the schedule—take an hour out of your day to help our elected officials understand your point of view! More details are on the WRRC’s website.
Gunnison June 18
Glenwood Springs August 21
Durango August 27
Alamosa August 28
Pueblo August 29
Steamboat Springs September 16
Walden September 16
Ft. Collins September 17
Denver October 1