Let’s roll up our sleeves for water resilience…
“Now that Proposition DD has passed, we stand ready to work with state and local officials and our partners to ensure that funds allocated to implement the Water Plan help communities secure their water future without negatively impacting the Colorado River and its aquatic environment.”
–Waverly Klaw, associate director, resilient communities and watersheds
On election night, Proposition DD to legalize sports betting hung in the balance, constantly waffling between majority “yes” and majority “no” vote counts. Proposition DD is significant because proceeds from the new tax are designated to support the implementation of Colorado’s Water Plan. The proposition passed by a narrow 1.2% margin and wasn’t officially called until the day after the election. Here’s why this is a big victory for building water resilience in Colorado:
We know that water is vital to our state’s agricultural heritage, recreational uses, wildlife and natural resources, and the economy. Yet the Colorado Water Plan predicts that our communities will experience an annual water shortfall of between 250,000 and 750,000 acre-feet in the next 30 years if we don’t take significant steps to use water more wisely. To put it into perspective, one acre-foot can serve 1-2 families for an entire year. A water deficit could impact much of what makes Colorado a great place to live.
The Water Plan estimates that $100 million annually is needed for the State to become water resilient through strategies such as reducing water demand, developing water storage, integrating water and land use planning, utilizing alternative transfer methods to preserve agriculture, and restoring river and watershed ecology. Those cost estimates have been revised upwards by the executive director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board in recent years. Proceeds from taxing sports betting will now provide a portion of these funds—an estimated $14-$29 million per year—to implement the Water Plan strategies. While it’s not enough, it is a start.
Now is the time to roll our sleeves up and maximize the impacts of these funds. The Sonoran Institute works with rural and urban communities across Colorado to integrate water supply and land use planning so that water conservation and efficiency measures are part of how we grow. Our Growing Water Smart program has worked actively with decisionmakers and staff serving nearly 50% of the state’s population. Now that Proposition DD has passed, we stand ready to work with state and local officials and our partners to ensure that funds allocated to implement the Water Plan help communities secure their water future without negatively impacting the Colorado River and its aquatic environment.
Blog Post By: Waverly Klaw, associate director, resilient communities and watersheds