Local News

Coloradans grapple with expected water shortage

PUEBLO, Colo. - Colorado faces a shortage when it comes to water.

By 2050, the state expects to have more people than water for them to drink.

Last year Gov. John Hickenlooper asked the Colorado Water Conservation Board to develop a state water plan. The group is tasked with addressing challenges that each of the state's nine river basins face.

Avondale rancher Dan Henrichs isn't sure that a water plan is needed. "What scares me is when I hear people talk about tweaking our water rights. I don't think our water rights need tweaking," he said.

About 50 people who use and depend on the Arkansas River Basin gathered at CSU-Pueblo Wednesday to talk about the challenges they face. They met as part of a series of meetings being held by the Arkansas Basin Roundtable. Members are going to send the state a draft of how they plan to meet those challenges by July.

"For the first time, the state of Colorado is going to address all of the water we have and look at are there ways that we should be managing that water differently than we are," said Betty Konarski, interim chair for the Arkansas Basin Roundtable.

The Arkansas River Basin is the state's largest basin. With more people projected to live along the Front Range in a few decades, those who depend on it now know the risks they face.

"To me, there's only two things in life that are important-- eating food and drinking water," Henrichs said. He's also superintendent of the Rocky Ford Highline Canal Company. He's not sure the state needs a water plan. But there's one question he wants answered: "How's it going to affect our current water rights?" he said.

More public meetings on the Arkansas River Basin are coming up. To see a list of those meetings, visit: arkansasbasin.com


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