Draft Colorado Water Plan Complete! | The Water Information Program

http://waterinfo.org/node/8812

Commentary on Colorado water use living document agreement follows:

“Rising demand from population growth and industry, if continued through 2050, threatens to leave 2.5 million people in Colorado with a water supply shortfall. Unless solutions are found to meet the gap between water demand and supply, the result could be, among others, agricultural dry-up. Therefore, and in response, in May 2013 Governor Hickenlooper ordered the development of a first-ever Colorado Water Plan. In mid-November the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) sent the Governor a draft of this plan that aims to shape the future of the resource in the state. The plan, which took a year-and-a-half to craft, was a monumental and unprecedented effort that involved the work of hundreds of individuals and organizations throughout Colorado. It is generally agreed that a variety of methods will need to be included in the Plan to meet the water supply needs of the state—conservation, development of already Identified Projects and Processes (IPP’s), agricultural “buy and dry,” and development of “new supply” projects. Taken together, these are referred to as the ‘four legs of the stool.’  The Colorado Water Plan will provide a roadmap for the future while protecting private ownership of water rights. The CWCB members are careful to point out that the roadmap is a ‘living document’ that can be changed over the years. There was a ceremony on December 10th in Denver to formally accept the draft plan and to celebrate. A final plan must be completed by December 2015.”

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Report on water level declines of the Ogallala Aquifer

This report is just out from the USGS upon request of the Congress on ‘substantial’ drop in Ogallala water levels in certain areas. Link to report provided. This is USGS posting:

 

 

The U.S. Geological Survey has released a new report detailing changes of groundwater levels in the High Plains Aquifer. The report presents water-level change data in the aquifer in two separate periods: from 1950–the time prior to significant groundwater irrigation development–to 2011, and 2009 to 2011.

In 2011, the total water stored in the aquifer was about 2.96 billion acre-feet, an overall decline of about 246 million acre-feet (or 8 percent) since pre-development. Change in water in storage from 2009 to 2011 was an overall decline of 2.8 million acre-feet. The overall average water-level decline in the aquifer was 14.2 feet from pre-development to 2011, and 0.1 foot from 2009 to 2011.

The study used water-level measurements from 3,322 wells for pre-development to 2011 and 7,376 wells for 2009 to 2011.

The High Plains Aquifer, also known as the Ogallala Aquifer, underlies about 112 million acres (175,000 square miles) in parts of eight states Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. The USGS, at the request of the U.S. Congress, has published reports on water-level changes in the High Plains Aquifer since 1988. Congress requested these reports in response to substantial water-level declines in large areas of the aquifer.

This multi-state, groundwater-level monitoring program has allowed water-level changes in all eight states to be tracked over time and has provided data critical to evaluating different options for groundwater management. This level of coordinated groundwater-level monitoring is unique among major, multi-state regional aquifers in the country.

The report “Water-Level and Storage Changes in the High Plains Aquifer, Predevelopment to 2011 and 2009–11” is available online.