From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):
The Front Range Water Providers group – which includes the state’s major importers of water – suggested that urban water conservation is not a practical way to deal with water shortages. The Front Range letter says, in part: “20 to 40 percent demand reductions may necessitate major changes in land use, or significant alteration of most of the urban landscape.”
“We submit that it may be time for Colorado to balance the search for new urban water supply with serious research on such ‘major changes,’” [Roundtable Chairwoman Michelle Pierce] argued. “We recognize that such strategies are complicated, may be intrusive upon property rights and will involve the effective collaboration among many governments and water providers throughout the state. “The significance of such changes, however, may be no less than that of continued dry-up of our agricultural lands or additional transmountain diversions.”
The Gunnison roundtable also took umbrage with the idea that its agricultural lands are not threatened, as the Arkansas roundtable’s resolution implied. “Many agricultural landowners within basins on both sides of the (Continental) Divide have opted to engage in profitable transactions that are not tied to water supply strategies. The loss of agricultural land is not unique to the Arkansas Basin,” Pierce wrote…
According to the Statewide Water Supply Initiative by the Colorado Water Conservation Board, 2,500-10,000 acres of farmland in the Gunnison River Basin could be dried up to meet future needs by 2030. In the Arkansas River Basin, 23,000-72,000 acres could be dried up.
More IBCC — basin roundtables coverage here.