Colorado’s Water Plan promotes technical and financial assistance throughout Colorado, enabling the State to plan and implement longterm water efficiency strategies that meet local and statewide water needs, and to achieve the following statewide long-term goals:
- Reduce overall future water needs through cost-effective water efficiency measures;
- Integrate water efficiency planning and projects into overall water resource management;
- Promote water efficiency ethic throughout Colorado;
- Explore additional water reuse options;
- Further integrate land use and water planning;
- Seek creative options for improving agricultural irrigation conservation and efficiency
Water conservation activities and water reuse will play an important role in balancing the need for additional water supply with strategies to lessen that need. By implementing a comprehensive, statewide approach for water conservation and water-reuse activities, CWCB and other state agencies will strengthen programs from the local to the state level. Much like TMDs, agricultural water transfers, and storage, conservation and reuse are not “silver-bullets;” however, they are critical components of strategies to address future needs. The creation of scalable technical resources, support of local initiatives through financial incentives, and best-practices sharing will bolster conservation and reuse.
The plan examines water conservation, reuse, land use, agricultural water conservation, self-supplied industrial (SSI) conservation, and state agency conservation. These water management strategies will help Colorado close the water supply gap while minimizing trade-offs that other solutions might create. Increased conservation, reuse, and better integration of land use and water planning will help maintain a healthy environment, promote livable and sustainable cities, and preserve agricultural production into the future.
The State is wise to invest funds for implementing water conservation activities statewide. These are some of the most inexpensive implementation strategies today, and will allow local water providers to be more efficient with the water resources they already have.
Colorado’s Water Plan sets a measurable objective to achieve 400,000 acre-feet of municipal and industrial water conservation by 2050. Colorado must address projected gaps between future water needs and available water provisions from both the supply side and the demand side. Every acre-foot of conserved water used to meet new demands is an acre foot of water that does not need to come from existing uses.
Learn more in Chapter 6.3 Water Conservation and Reuse.
Financing Sustainable Water: Building Better Water Rates in an Uncertain World
The CWCB and the Alliance for Water Efficiency partnered to bring two water rate workshops to Glenwood Springs and the Denver metro area. Sustainable water rates are key to addressing the looming water supply and demand gap in Colorado.
Developing rate structures that successfully balance revenue management, resource efficiency, and fiscal sustainability is becoming more challenging in a world of scarce supply, volatile weather, and declining demand. Some of the innovative resources and strategies highlighted at the workshops that will help Colorado water managers navigate these challenges, included:
Policies and planning tools to enhance utilities’ financial outlook
How cost-effective efficiency programs support revenue management and fiscal sustainability
Changing demand trends and implications for ratemaking and conservation
Tools to embrace uncertainty and navigate the “known unknowns” facing Colorado water providers
Steps to meet Colorado State Water Plan goals, such as scenario planning, adaptive strategies, incorporating the true costs of water into rate design, and exploring alternative water rate designs.