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Feeling the pressure.

Throughout this series, we’ve investigated the pressures around water across the state – from climate change to population growth to different values – and how they shape the management of this vital resource. Sometimes, water issues in Colorado can feel insurmountable. And yet, these pressures are causing people to change their behaviors. But how do we truly change the relationship we’ve had with water historically, to better reflect the realities of our future?

Checks and balances.

When the Douglas County legal counsel reviewed the RWR proposal, some of the biggest concerns were that it would not make it through water court. New trans-basin water diversions aren’t as common in recent years because water is in short supply and both basins need to consider the move a “win-win.” That means Douglas County would need to be fully onboard. And the people of the Valley would need to support the deal as well. That’s currently not the case, at least, not right now. But it shows there really are checks and balances on how we use water in the state.

Transformational change.

Ideas abound for how to manage our dwindling water supply – whether it’s restoring a river, adopting a new innovation in agriculture, or updating our legal frameworks. Plus we must reevaluate our relationship to water in light of climate change. 

If we can put all these solutions on the table – and do so in a way that brings people into the discussions and bridges divides – then it seems as though we can make some progress towards a future that works for the greatest amount of people, the economy, the environment, and our water.

Maybe water, under pressure, forces us to change. 

Kevin Rein, State Engineer and Director of the Division of Water Resources, Colorado Department of Natural Resources
Cleave Simpson, Colorado Senator, District 35
Brad Udall, Senior Water & Climate Research Scientist, Colorado Water Institute
Emma Reesor, Executive Director, Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project
Cindy Medina, Alamosa Riverkeeper

Further Reading

"Is cloud seeding a potential solution to Colorado's drought?" Colorado Sun. November 13, 2022.

“In Colorado, a storied valley blooms again.” High Country News. October 31, 2022.

"Colorado River water users convene in Las Vegas amid crisis concerns." Colorado Sun. December 13, 2022

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