State officials approve 2023 Colorado Water Plan

Kyle McCabe
Sky-Hi News
Agricultural water specialist Nora Flynn, right, talks with some of the attendees before her Colorado Water Plan presentation at the Headwaters Center on Sept. 15, 2022.
Kyle McCabe/Sky-Hi News

The Colorado Water Conservation Board unanimously approved the final 2023 Colorado Water Plan on Jan. 24. The plan updates the original 2015 version and helps set a vision for how the state, local governments and residents can address water challenges in the future.

news release about the approval states the plan features a wide array of goals, including securing supplies that provide safe drinking water, improving farm irrigation and rehabilitating streams.

Local-level implementation of the plan has $17 million of state funding behind it already, and Gov. Jared Polis is proposing an additional $25.5 million be put towards the Water Plan Grant Program, which helps fund water projects across the state, in his fiscal year 2023-24 budget. Tax and fee revenue from sports betting also funds the grant program.

The conservation board went through a year-long public engagement process while developing the new plan, which included a presentation of the draft plan in Grand County in September 2022.

Nora Flynn, a conservation board agricultural water specialist who presented the plan in Grand County, said the plan deals with in-state water issues, meaning it does not directly address the Colorado River basin’s multi-state water crisis. 

Flynn said the plan does look to combat the effects of climate change and population growth, which have fueled the river’s problems and will not require any one area of water use in Colorado to bear the brunt of sustainable planning.

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