Colorado's population is growing at twice the national rate. That's good for business and tax revenues, but not for water managers in a state that shares the West's No. 1 water source with six other states.
Stakeholders are divided about how to address Colorado's projected 163-billion-gallon shortfall.
Some want to continue a practice the state has long used: river pumpback projects. Some want to limit how much water farmers can use. Conservationists think conserving resources will do the trick.
"We're going to have to look at all alternatives," says a utility manager. "Conservation isn't the silver bullet; it's also going to take additional infrastructure. ... These people need water, and they're willing to pay for that water."