The March 1 snow report indicates that snowpack is below average this year, as it was last year– many rivers and streams may see shortages for a second year in a row, while for some in Colorado, this dry spell has lasted much longer. The Colorado Water Trust intends to lease water this year through Request for Water, a water leasing program that benefits both water users and the environment.
A 2003 Colorado state statute enables the Colorado Water Trust in collaboration with the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) to lease water for streams on short notice to protect the environment. This tool for rewatering streams under Colorado’s Instream Flow Program has been available since 2003, but CWT was the first to use the statute to add water to streams during drought conditions in 2012.
Request for Water also addresses the financial needs of Colorado’s water users by compensating owners for the temporary use of their water rights. The Water Trust is seeking fieldwork volunteers as well as those who might be interested in leasing water. Fieldwork volunteers can assist with monitoring once water leases have been approved by the Colorado Division of Water Resources.