Colorado State Archives
Executive Orders from the Administration of Governor Bill Owens 1999-2005
Dan Hopkins 303-866-6324
Mark Salley 303-866-6323
(GRAND JUNCTION) - Governor Bill Owens today signed legislation creating " a roadmap and a process for success in statewide water discussions."
Additionally, the Governor announced that Department of Natural Resources Executive Director Russell George - who developed the plan - will serve as director of the committee that will lead discussions.
"I can think of no better person to guide these water discussions than Russ George," said Owens. "His years as a water lawyer in Rifle, as well as his leadership of the Department of Natural Resources have made him one of Colorado's true water experts."
House Bill 1177, sponsored by Rep. Josh Penry (R-Grand Junction) and Senator Jim Isgar (D-Hesperus), creates an "Interbasin Compact Committee," comprised of nine roundtables - seven representing the state's seven river basins, and two representing the southern and northern Denver metro areas - as well as six gubernatorial appointees.
"During my State of the State Address, I encouraged the General Assembly to pass this legislation and provide Colorado's water users with a means of addressing potential conflicts among themselves through representatives who are qualified to negotiate on their behalf," said Owens. "This bill has enjoyed support from both sides of the isle and all corners of the state, underscoring the fact that Coloradans understand the need for common-sense solutions to decades-old water feuds."
The members appointed by the Governor will hail from geographically diverse parts of the state, and each will bring an expertise in environmental, recreational, municipal, industrial, and agricultural matters to the committee.
The nine roundtables will meet to establish by-laws, operating procedures, and membership guidelines. They will analyze water management issues within their respective areas and actively seek the input and advice of local stakeholders, governments, water providers, and others interested in water management. Results will be forwarded to the Interbasin Compact Committee and to other roundtables for consideration.
The Committee will set its own by-laws and operating procedures, and will act as a facilitating body for the following purposes: compact negotiations, setting the framework and foundational principles for the negotiating processes, guiding negotiations as necessary, and ensuring the availability of technical information for the negotiations.
Compacts agreed upon in negotiations will first receive review by the Interbasin Compact Committee, and will then be forwarded to the appropriate roundtables for independent consideration. Ultimately, the Colorado Legislature will review the compact proposals.
The Interbasin Compact Committee is required to report to the legislature no later than October 31st of each year regarding the progress of the compact proceedings.
"I'm truly looking forward to the conversations the committee will have, and to doing my part to improve Colorado's water management," said George. "The Governor and the Legislature have given us a unique opportunity to strike a new chord in water discussions. It is our responsibility to take advantage of this opportunity and to give our best on behalf of each and every Coloradan."
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