King will moderate our Thursday morning session, the first of six discussions to examine the “planks” upon which Colorado built, builds, and will build its water platform. A lively discussion will include the benefits of the water planning process to chart a future that sustains our agriculture, cities, and environment. “I expect a great discussion including legitimate, honest concerns. This is an opportunity to get it all out onto the table and have a robust discussion,” says King.
A: Since the water community serves the general public, anything we do to benefit a broader public will benefit the water community. We, the water community, exist as an extension of the public’s interests. Both groups stand to gain a fundamental understanding of where we are headed as a state. Increased predictability leads to better planning on all levels. It is time for the water community to take the next step in the development of Colorado’s Water Plan. The discussion at the Annual Convention will be an important part of that.
Q: How can local, state, and federal agencies and interests work together to produce a viable product?
A: Ultimately the federal government will need to be involved and engaged in our discussion, but first and foremost this is a discussion among Coloradoans about what we want our future to look like.
Q: What will the significance of the state water plan be in ten years?
A: We are beginning what will be an iterative process. The plan today follows today’s assumptions, whether they are relative to population growth or climate change, these variables will change over the course of ten years. At intervals, we will re-visit the plan and begin to narrow-in on the state’s future related to water. There is no crystal ball showing us the future of water in Colorado for the next 10-15 years. In this process, we close the gap one step at a time. The plan is as much a process as it is an outcome.
The structure we have in place to recognize local concerns will continue to be the basin roundtables. The relationships we’ve developed through this method will serve us well going forward as we refine and begin to implement the plan after adoption in December 2015. The fundamental implementation process will be bottom up, as is the plan’s development. Basin roundtables are an incredibly valuable tool and will continue to be the primary venue for local discussions regarding Colorado’s water.
The panel I will moderate will focus on the foundational elements of a successful plan from an interest perspective. What does the Colorado plan need to contain for your interest group to view this as a success? This is an exciting year and time of anticipation for the people of Colorado.