Colorado Water Plan

Official State website

In May 2013, Gov. Hickenlooper directed the state to draft the Colorado Water Plan, in order to pro­vide a direction for water resource use in the com­ing decades. The plan, which will be drafted by the end of 2014, will aim to ensure a sufficient supply of water for the various users across the state, including agricultural, municipal, industrial, environmental, and recreational needs.Click Here for a Timeline pertaining to the Colorado Water Plan. 


Colorado’s water resources are facing two major threats: population growth and drought. The state’s population is expected to double by 2050. New development on the Front Range will bring increasing demand for water from the Western Slope, which contains 80% of the state’s supply. Even as more water is required for cities, Colorado has faced ongoing drought since 2002. With climate change, less precipitation could lead to persistent drought conditions. Current projections estimate that by 2030, there will be a 20% gap be­tween Colorado’s water supply and the demand.


Colorado's Water Plan will leverage and integrate nine years of work accomplished by Colorado’s Basin Roundtables, the Interbasin Compact Committee, and Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) to determine how to implement water supply planning solutions that meet Colorado’s future water needs while supporting healthy watersheds and environment, robust recreation and tourism economies, vibrant and sustainable cities, and viable and productive agriculture.


Based on input from stakeholders (like you!), the Colorado Water Conservation Board will deliver a draft of Colorado’s Water Plan to the Governor’s Office by December 10, 2014.  The CWCB will then work with the Governor’s Office to finalize Colorado’s Water Plan no later than December, 2015.


The Basin Roundtables will play a critical role in the development of Colorado’s Water Plan.  Each Basin Roundtable has been tasked with developing its own Basin Implementation Plan.  Plans will offer solutions for how each basin's future water needs will be addressed at the local level.  These Basin Implementation Plans will then be incorporated into Colorado’s Water Plan so that it is clear, at both the basin and statewide level, how Colorado's water needs will be addressed.

How will the Water Plan address the quality of the state’s rivers and streams?

According to the State, “Governor’s Executive Order spelled out fundamental values, including an environment that includes healthy watersheds, rivers and streams, and wildlife.  Colorado’s Water Plan will incentivize water development that honors Colorado’s commitment to its wildlife and environment.  The CWCB maintains tools that are helpful in protecting and improving the health of our rivers and streams.”

To find out about Events:

 - Calendar of Events

Helpful Resources:

·    *****************Official State website******************************************

·         Colorado’s Water Plan – Frequently Asked Questions

·         Colorado Legislative Council’s: Water Resources Review Committee

·         Colorado Division of Water Resources

·         Colorado Water Conservation Board: About Basin Roundtables

·         Colorado Water Conservation Board: Studies and Reports

·         Upper Colorado River Basin Water Conference (2013)

·         Colorado Water Congress Annual Convention – Jan 29-31, 2013 (Denver) – what is it, registration

·         Colorado’s Water Plan Newsletter (November 2013) 

·         Audubon Rockies Fact Sheet about the Colorado Water Plan 

Recent news articles about the Water Plan:

·         Nov 13, 2013, High Country News: State Fights Drought & Population Growth with Statewide Planning

·         Nov 5, 2013, Greeley Tribune: CWCB Board Member Diane Hoppe: Colorado Working on a Plan to Secure Water Future

·         Nov 2, 2013, Durango Herald: IBCC Member Bruce Whitehead on Colorado's Water Future

How you can help, right now