Water

Water

Water is the lifeblood of our state.  Our agricultural economy, tourism industry, and quality of life in this beautiful state depend on it.  Colorado faces a simple math challenge—our population is increasing and natural storage and flows of water are decreasing on account of climate change.  We can meet this challenge, but only with the innovative and collaborative leadership that Colorado is known for.

In 2018, we are, once again, experiencing drought-like conditions. This year, our snowpack level is far below average1, with some areas of the state hovering around only 50% of normal2.  These areas are unlikely to return to the norm, which is a painful consequence of climate change. As a headwater state, Colorado’s water flows to eighteen states and Mexico and is subject to nine different formal agreements3.  And the projected growth of Colorado’s population—which could see a 50% increase by 2050 from 2015 levels4—means that we cannot be complacent in how we manage our water.

As our next Attorney General, I will:
  • Protect our allocation of Colorado River water and ensure that our state is not held liable for non-compliance with any relevant agreement, especially in light of the Central Arizona Project’s refusal to join a collaborative effort to create a more sustainable river system5;
  • Bolster our mutually beneficial relationships with the other states to enable us to manage our water supplies during an extended drought. The solutions to managing our water must be collaborative; if we end up in a fight–either between regions in Colorado or with others states–we are all going to end up losing.
  • Support the Colorado Water Plan6, which provides a valuable framework for managing water. An Attorney General must protect water rights, ensure the continued vitality of agricultural communities, protect outdoor recreational economies that rely on our rivers, and allow reasonable transfer arrangements.
  • Recognize that alternative water transfer arrangements present an opportunity, a risk, and a challenge. If they are not overseen appropriately, the risk is that such arrangements can result in a “buy and dry” scenario, which is how Crowley County’s7 local economy was imperiled. The challenge is thus to allow for reasonable transfers, encourage innovation, and protect local agricultural economies.
  • Engage effectively with the Colorado Water Conservation Board8 and work collaboratively with its members to meet the challenges ahead. I will also engage with the Basin Roundtables, which provide a crucial form of local governance and feedback on the development of an effective water policy here in Colorado.
As our next Attorney General, I will:
  • Protect our allocation of Colorado River water and ensure that our state is not held liable for non-compliance with any relevant agreement, especially in light of the Central Arizona Project’s refusal to join a collaborative effort to create a more sustainable river system5;
  • Bolster our mutually beneficial relationships with the other states to enable us to manage our water supplies during an extended drought. The solutions to managing our water must be collaborative; if we end up in a fight–either between regions in Colorado or with others states–we are all going to end up losing.
  • Support the Colorado Water Plan6, which provides a valuable framework for managing water. An Attorney General must protect water rights, ensure the continued vitality of agricultural communities, protect outdoor recreational economies that rely on our rivers, and allow reasonable transfer arrangements.
  • Recognize that alternative water transfer arrangements present an opportunity, a risk, and a challenge. If they are not overseen appropriately, the risk is that such arrangements can result in a “buy and dry” scenario, which is how Crowley County’s7 local economy was imperiled. The challenge is thus to allow for reasonable transfers, encourage innovation, and protect local agricultural economies.
  • Engage effectively with the Colorado Water Conservation Board8 and work collaboratively with its members to meet the challenges ahead. I will also engage with the Basin Roundtables, which provide a crucial form of local governance and feedback on the development of an effective water policy here in Colorado.