Credit: Photo: CDM

Colorado's treatment plants must accommodate the state's growing population, which is projected to increase 65% over the next 25 years.
Denver Water's Marston treatment plant has a 250 mgd capacity. Due to population growth, Colorado will need an additional 205 billion gallons of new water by 2030.
Fostering solutions

Stakeholder meetings look to the future.

The Colorado Water Conservation Board's 18-month study of water needs and supplies concluded that agricultural, municipal and industrial demand as well as interest in the use of water for recreational and environmental purposes is creating a high potential for conflict. In a way, this is good news for the state's water consumers: The competition for water provides an impetus for a multi-objective, multi-benefit approach to water management.

The study's other key findings:

  • Water supplies are not necessarily located in areas of high demand.
  • Increased reliance on nonrenewable, nontributary groundwater for permanent water supply raises serious reliability and sustainability concerns.
  • If water-supply projects and processes are not successfully implemented, Colorado will experience a significant reduction in irrigated agricultural lands as water providers seek additional permanent transfers of agricultural water rights.
  • While in-basin solutions can help resolve the 20% gap between municipal and industrial supply and demand, there will be tradeoffs and impacts on other uses, especially agriculture and the environment.
  • “Conservation will play an important role in meeting anticipated water demands; however, conservation alone will not replace the need for additional water sources,” says Harold Evans, president of the city of Greeley water board.
  • Financial capabilities limit the ability of smaller, rural water providers and agricultural water users to address their existing and future water needs.