Colorado’s local economies are more likely to thrive when rivers and streams can support rafting, angling, wildlife, agriculture, and communities. But drought and climate change are depleting Colorado’s rivers, and that is taking a toll on everyone who depends on them.
By passing HB19-1218 into law, we can expand and extend an already successful program to help Colorado communities find common-sense ways to keep more water in rivers and benefit both the natural environment and farmers, ranchers, and other water users.
Here’s a great example from 2015 of how the program works:
A local rancher in the Gunnison Basin used some, but not all, of his allotted water during the first part of his growing season. He decided that during the dry months of July and August he would temporarily and voluntarily loan water to the state, ensuring flows remained in Tomichi Creek during a typically dry-period. He received payment for water he did not use that year and the water left in the creek allowed fish to migrate further upstream to reach critical habitat.
It was a “win-win” for everyone involved.
With flexibility and a willingness to work together, we can find more opportunities like that one. HB19-1218 is a common-sense step to help ensure our rivers keep flowing, even in dry years.