Colorado’s growth and development as a state are intertwined with water. Development and management of water is complex, controversial and at times contentious. Decisions regarding water have become increasingly complex as Colorado has experienced both unprecedented population growth and a greater emphasis on multiple uses of this precious resource.
To facilitate discussions on water management issues and encourage locally driven collaborative solutions, nine basin roundtables were established by the Colorado Water for the 21st Century Act
. These roundtables represent each of the state’s eight major river basins and the Denver metropolitan area.
The basin roundtables bring more than 300 citizens into water discussions across the state. The broad-based, collaborative nature of this process is reflected in the basin roundtable membership
– a set of designated members, 10 at-large members, non-voting members, agency liaisons and the CWCB Board member from each basin. Basin Activities
Each basin roundtable is required to develop a basin-wide water needs assessment, consisting of four parts:
- Consumptive water needs (municipal, industrial and agricultural);
- Nonconsumptive water needs (environmental and recreational);
- Available water supplies (surface and groundwater) and an analysis of any unappropriated waters; and
- Proposed projects or methods to meet any identified water needs and achieve water supply sustainability over time.
The Rio Grande Basin encompasses approximately 8,000 square miles, including the San Luis Valley. This high mountain valley extends approximately 90 miles from north to south and 50 miles from east to west.
Other important characteristics of the Rio Grande Basin include: