AWRA Colorado – 2010 Symposium
Summary of Keynote Talk by James Martin
By Steve Smith
The AWRA Colorado Section held its 2010 Annual Symposium on April 23rd at the traditional location of Mount Vernon County Club outside of Golden. Although we got the traditional spring snowstorm, it wasn’t enough to prevent folks from making it this year. The symposium was entitled “Uncertainty and Future Management of Colorado’s Water Resources; How will future changes in climate or demographics affect water availability?”
The keynote speaker was James Martin, the former Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources and recently appointed as the lead for Region 8 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He provided the following insight on Colorado water issues:
- We need to face reality, which is that population will increase for the State of Colorado – we don’t know by how much, but we do know that current supplies won’t be enough to meet demands associated with the increase in population.
- There are several potential solutions, and they may all be needed to meet future demands:
- Agricultural dry-up – unlikely in mass amounts, because of the negative indirect environmental affects (e.g., reduction of dilution flows in rivers)
- Conservation – As a state with significant new construction, there are opportunities to install the necessary plumbing for non-potable water in new neighborhoods
- New storage projects – we’ll need all of the projects currently conceived, and likely more
- Streamline the water court process to minimize the amount of money spent on fees associated with lawyers and engineers – less time in court would expedite the process of acquiring the water rights that will be necessary to bring new water supplies online
- Increase coordination between the disparate organizations regulating water supplies – entities like CWCB, water court, municipalities, and the Division of Water Resources could cooperate more efficiently and work towards the common goal of helping to develop the State’s water resources in a responsible and expeditious manner
The AWRA Colorado Section thanks James Martin for participating in our symposium this year, and for his insight into some of the pressing water supply issues here in Colorado including thoughtful suggestions for some the solutions to the current water related issues we face as a state.