ROCKY MOUNTAIN WATER JANUARY 2017 | 19 FEATURE THE STATE OF COLORADO IS actively working to develop a sustainable water future that supports growth and preserves Colorado’s unique lifestyle. After considering a number of factors including climate change, population centers, water supply locations, and legal and regulatory parameters, the State has concluded that storage is a critical solution to meeting future water needs. Storage solutions offer water providers the confidence to plan for the future, developers the confidence to invest in growth, agricultural users the confidence that they can meet late summer demand, and the public the confidence that its water supply is secure. How much storage provides that confidence? The State has set an aggressive goal in the Colorado Water Plan of fostering development of 400,000 acre-feet of water storage over the next 34 years, identifying 2050 as the horizon for the study. To attain this goal, Coloradans will need to develop new reservoirs, expand and rehabilitate existing reservoirs, and evaluate underground storage options in both alluvial and bedrock aquifers. The State is in the initial phases of evaluating available and potential storage sites as well as capacities in the South Platte Storage Capacity Study, anticipated to start in 2017. Storage projects often provide additional benefits such as preserving natural environments and offer added value to Colorado’s outdoor enthusiasts. For example, multi-use storage projects, like an aquifer recharge, can incorporate habitat improvements, wetland restoration, and recreational uses. These storage projects often benefit the environment, support Colorado’s agricultural industry, and offer a valuable resource to residential communities. Pursuing storage projects offers the State both direct and indirect benefits as a result of securing the future water supply. However, when looking at developing storage, such as expanding a reservoir, there are a myriad of federal and state regulations that come into play. Often Optimizing Water Supplies to Develop a Sustainable Water Future By Andrea Cole, P.E., Esq. Pictured: Chatfield Reservoir.
RMW January 2017
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