Colorado’s Water Plan: What’s Next?
Dear Friends of S|I,
Today is United Nations World Water Day, an occasion marked by events held around the world, including a White House Water Summit that will be broadcast live. Here at Something Independent, we’re taking this opportunity to ask a question:
“What’s next for the Colorado Water Plan?”
Released at the end of last year, Colorado’s first ever water plan represents an enormous achievement. Both Governor John Hickenlooper and Colorado Water Conservation Board Director James Eklund, who was charged with shepherding the plan to completion, have a right to be proud – as do the hundreds of oranizations and thousands of individuals from across the state who provided their input and expertise during a process that began in 2013.
Since the plan was released in November 2015, the public conversation surrounding Colorado’s water future has quieted down, but we’re hoping that the momentum, awareness and goodwill built during the past several years doesn’t just dry up. The Colorado Water Plan is a promising starting point for our state to show leadership on a global priority that has become a genuine crisis here in the American West.
During the plan’s formulation last year, S|I joined a group of businesses to host UNDIVIDED – For a Fresh Approach to Water in Colorado. More than 50 business and community leaders, many representing Colorado’s increasingly influential outdoor recreation industries, came from across the Front Range to discuss Colorado’s water future with James Eklund at Battery621. The conversation was lively and interest in the plan’s potential was high. The main question on everyone’s mind, however, was: “What do we need to do – how can we help?”
That’s why we’re asking this same question again today. Water is too important to set this groundbreaking plan on the shelf for another generation to dust off when an inevitable water emergency arises. By then it will be too late.
As we can see from the situation in California and throughout the West, where rural and urban areas alike are battling forest fires, sinking lands, diminishing crop yields, depleted reservoirs, massive commercial, residential and agricultural water shortages, and increasingly uncertain futures overall – water management is one of our generation’s most important challenges. It’s critical to the Colorado lifestyle that has fueled our state’s extraordinary growth, and it’s essential if our businesses and communities are going to thrive in the future.
Colorado stands at the headwaters of this issue, literally. The Colorado River, our state’s iconic river, supplies water to an estimated 40 million people spanning seven states.
For those who joined the conversation at the UNDIVIDED gathering last July, and to our Something Independent friends who put their stake in the ground at the intersection of lifestyle and commerce, we urge you to continue to pay attention, challenge yourself to learn more, and to speak up. The spotlight is on our state right now, so lets address this most important problem head on. We have a plan. It was developed over many months and represents a true collaborative achievement. The next and most difficult steps call for sustained leadership and the courage to seek out difficult choices – not delay them.
In our own efforts to stay informed and engaged, S|I will be keeping up with Colorado Water Conservation Board’s efforts at www.ColoradoWaterPlan.com. We’ll also be looking to the organization Protect the Flows – a network of over 1,100 businesses working on water education and engagement, water efficiencies, and keeping our river systems healthy and flowing – for updates and insights. We can anticipate more information related to the Colorado Water Plan and any implementation efforts, including specific ways we can help move this plan into action.
We are at tipping point on this most important issue. A plan is on the table. Now is the time to stay informed, engage in the conversation and keep asking, “what’s next” for the Colorado Water Plan.
Follow the conversation at #COwater