“I think we’ve got an actionable document now and if people still think we’re falling too short or we’ve gone too far I’m sure we’ll hear about it and I encourage people to tell us.”
James Eklund, is the Director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board and as such he is leading the state’s water policy and planning efforts by heading up the development of the Colorado Water Plan.
A second draft of the plan was released earlier this month and Eklund says it features several action items. “A number of them involve the development of a multiple-purpose funding plan. We k now that whether you ‘re developing storage for municipal and industrial use or agriculture or environmental or recreational use, you’ve got to have money to be able to build those things and to mitigate for those impacts.”
Eklund says rough estimations show that “between now and 2050 we’re going to need about $20 billion worth of funding to really accommodate all the projects that we’re going to need to see come on line or be built from scratch or do the O and M, operation and maintenance on existing projects.”
A rainier than average spring and summer in Colorado has meant that Colorado is technically out of a drought period, but Eklund says regardless of the extra moisture this year, the state is still committed to long range planning for future needs. “If you look at the drought forecast that the Department of Agriculture releases, we are out of the drought for the first time in years. If you look at practically speaking, at our reservoirs and the variability we’ve seen over the last 10 or 15 years we should not be resting on our laurels. As I told my board … we’ve got to push our foot down on the accelerator and not take it off.”
Eklund says people are encouraged to comment on the second draft of the plan. The final public comment deadline is September 17th. The final version of the plan will be released in December.