Land Use & Water
Develop Local Water Conscious Land Use Strategies
We cannot solve Colorado water issues without addressing the fundamental link between water and land use. Basin residents recognize that the limited water supply in Colorado and the ever-increasing water demands both in the Basin and throughout the State require the development of new policies linking land use and water. The Colorado Basin from the headwaters to the state line is very diverse. Land use policies, water conservation practices and economies are different and are best managed by local authorities who represent and understand the local needs and are directly accountable to the local population. Implementation of these policies will vary based on geographic region within the Basin. Local governments have the authority and tools to ensure that new growth and development do not out strip water supply. Colorado’s Water Plan must support these local efforts.
Overall these policies should ultimately:
- Build a culture of conservation within the development community
- Encourage local authorities to implement conservation and growth strategies that protect and preserve efficient water resources not only for meeting consumptive needs but to address nonconsumptive needs as well
- Promote regional cooperation for water resource use within the Basin
- Plan for water demands that will continue to grow beyond the current 2050 planning horizon
- Achieve balanced economies which protect and encourage agriculture
- Adopt local and regional comprehensive plans which respect and recognize locally available limited water supplies
The CBRT recommends that these policies be adopted in Colorado’s Water Plan, recognizing that current and future land use practices will have a significant impact on water use statewide. Dense growth should be directed within urban growth boundaries where water supply infrastructure and plans are in place. Land use planning across the Basin should recognize the shortage and limits of water supply and establish achievable and meaningful water conservation goals. Land use policies must both recognize and articulate preserving water for streams and rivers and maintaining agriculture as a trade-off for efficient outdoor landscapes and indoor use.
The goals were developed from repeated comments and suggestions heard from Town Hall meetings, Rotary presentations, city councils and at watershed collaborative discussions. The thoughts were assembled and presented with overwhelming support from the CBRT. This is the voice of the Colorado Basin on what water conscious land development will look like in our Basin and a model for what it could look like Statewide.
The four goals identified to support this theme are:
- Develop land use policies requiring and promoting conservation
- Support, preserve and promote local authorities management of stream health, development and conservation efforts
- Expand regional cooperation efforts to improve efficiency, provide water supply flexibility, and enhance environmental and recreational amenities
- Extend water planning vision beyond the 2050 horizon
(The above information was extracted from the Colorado Basin Implementation Plan and edited slightly to fit)
℅ Colorado River Water Conservation District
201 Centennial Street, Suite 200
Glenwood Springs, Colorado 81601
Protecting Agriculture, Environment, Recreation & Water Supply for Western Colorado.