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During its bi-monthly meeting on Wednesday this week, the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) – the state’s water policy agency, considered and unanimously approved the Governor’s request for $17 million to kick-start local-level implementation of the recently updated Colorado Water Plan.

“In Colorado, water is life and we are excited to make this important investment in our water future. Colorado’s Water Plan sets a vision for vibrant communities, successful farming and ranching, thriving watersheds, and climate resilient planning,” said Governor Jared Polis.

The 5.5 mile Boustead Tunnel transports water from the Fryingpan River drainage into the Arkansas by way of Turquoise Lake (pictured here).
Photo courtesy of Klambpatten (with the Bureau of Reclamation).

“Prolonged drought and aging water infrastructure are major barriers to achieving that vision, particularly as Coloradans face a future with more people sharing less water,” said Polis. “We remain undaunted by that challenge and I’m excited that together we can help overcome these barriers by investing needed resources and seizing upon opportunities to secure funds for locally-driven aging infrastructure and drought resiliency projects.”

This newly transferred funding is on top of an additional $3 million previously authorized to the state’s Water Supply Reserve Fund. The recommendation to significantly increase the total amount of funding ($20 million) for basinwide and local water projects comes from severance tax revenue.

“This infusion of funding will directly positively impact Colorado’s local communities as they continue to experience the effects of a continued drought first-hand. Supported projects will include improving water delivery infrastructure for efficiency and resilience in both cities and agricultural areas,” said CWCB Director Becky Mitchell. “Thank you to our Board Members and to Governor Polis for recognizing the need to drive this funding to our local communities on the ground where it can make the biggest impact.”