After almost 150 years of yoking its rivers with dams, canals and other water infrastructures, Colorado is substantially out of raw water to develop. If it doesn’t have an empty water bucket, the bottom is visible.
Russ George spoke like a proud father, and in a way he was as the Colorado Water Conservation Board approved the draft of a state water plan. But allocation of what is arguably Colorado’s most precious resource remains the subject of contentious if generally civil debate.
Breckenridge is among Colorado’s mountain towns looking to take measures to encourage more efficient use of water for outdoor lawn irrigation. “We have to walk the talk,” says Tim Gagen, the town manager. “We can’t just sit up here and say we have all the water, now we’ll use it.”
It’s hard to say what proportion of a typical residential lot is covered by water-intensive turf. One guess is 40 to 60 percent after the house, sidewalks, and so forth are subtracted. A much more Draconian limit of 15 percent was proposed in a bill introduced into the Colorado legislature this year. This summer, an interim committee will discuss whether the state should adopt measures to limit water use for urban development and leave it for agriculture use.