Most people do not realize that managing water in the West is larger an effort than putting a man on the moon.
The wells, reservoirs and ditches needed to direct water for both agriculture and municipal uses have been a major feat of mankind. Many forget that the land we live on was once abandoned by civilizations because of drought. To secure the future of water in the West, there is much more work to be done.
I am happy to be introducing legislation this year that both directs funds to the advancement of water projects in Colorado, and legislation that would allow for aquifer storage and recovery. Two major components in the immediate future for Colorado Water.
For years, we have been drilling wells and pulling water out of the aquifers bellow us. In states like California and Texas, the aquifers have been overused, leading to compaction. This compaction destroys one of our most important natural resources. Colorado needs to work towards saving these natural reservoirs so that we can use them in the future.
Rep. Marc Catlin of Montrose and I led a very important bill when he introduced HB 18-1199. This bill is referred to as the aquifer recovery-and-storage bill here at the Capitol. What it creates is a process for the Ground Water Commission to approve aquifer storage-and-recovery plans. This is very important to off-setting how much water we are pulling from our wells and will help detour from the compaction and eventual collapse of our aquifers in Colorado.
HB18-1199 was signed by the governor on April 9.
Above ground, Rep. Jeni Arndt from Fort Collins and I have been hard at work trying to fund water resources projects in Colorado. SB18-218 appropriates $36 million from the Colorado Water Conservation Board Construction Fund or the Department of Natural Resources to fund projects such as satellite monitoring systems, water forecast programs and the continuation of watershed restoration programs.
The advancement of these projects allows us to have more control over water resources in the state, allowing for us to control our own future.
This year’s water forecasts are grim and are concerning to many. It is important, even in years that we are fortunate to have enough water, that we continue to plan and build for the worst. Appropriating these funds will allow us to continue to do so. It will allow our cities to grow, our farmers to farm, mines to mine and our rivers to flow.
Water is very important for the Western Slope. Multiple states, millions of people and another country rely on us being responsible with our water.
This is why we work so hard to bring legislation to further our water interest, and we thank you for the opportunity to make this happen.
Don Coram, R-Montrose, represents State Senate District 6. Contact Sen. Coram at (303) 866-4884 or firstname.lastname@example.org. During the legislative session, Sen. Coram and Rep. Barbara McLachlan share this column on alternate weeks.