From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Gary Harmon):
Colorado River water users will have to get used to more water conservation, according to a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation report that was faulted in Colorado for failing to consider storage as a drought measure.
The report calls for several steps, including technology improvements and behavior change, to increase low-water landscapes, along with increased funding for environmental and recreational water-flow requirements and greater coordination of water and land planning.
“This report is reassuring proof that the Colorado River Basin report is not just another report sitting on a shelf. That report, along with the ongoing drought, is a call to action,” said Chris Treese of the Colorado River Water Conservation District, which participated in it.
If nothing is done, “In western Colorado and across the arid West, we could lose our farming and ranching heritage and its economic and environmental benefits if we don’t come together now to cooperatively address this extreme challenge,” Treese said.
The call falls short of the needs on the West Slope, said Ute Water Conservancy District General Manager Larry Clever, who called the recommendations the “same stuff” that has been discussed in other forums.
Missing is the recognition that storage is needed, Clever said.“If we want to work on drought, we are going to have to store water somewhere, and it would be nice to store it where it didn’t evaporate,” Clever said.
Colorado’s water plan in the making includes storage, Gov. John Hickenlooper said Tuesday before the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado, who pointed to the potential of holding more water at high elevation by expanding existing impoundments.
Storage is “a big option” in the plan as it’s being drafted, said James Eklund, who heads the Colorado Water Conservation Board, which is drafting the water plan.
More Colorado River Basin coverage here.