Awards for the Best Plans and Policies

Growing Water Smart Award with APA Colorado

We work with the Colorado Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA Colorado) to recognize exemplary Colorado communities that are integrating water and land use planning for a more secure water future. This Growing Water Smart Award is presented at the annual APA Colorado conference. We would like to extend our congratulations to the City of Fort Collins, Colorado, for their Water Shortage Action Plan which won them the 2021 Growing Water Smart Award! 

What is the Growing Water Smart Award? 

In a time of increasing stress on our water resources, planners have the opportunity and responsibility to help their communities Grow Water Smart. Setting aggressive goals and strategies to address water supply and demand; enactment of regulations that reduce water demand; and exemplary communications or public engagement plans are all examples of eligible projects. The award goes to a Colorado town, city, or county that has made exceptional strides in integrating water conservation, efficiency, quality, or reuse into their land use plans or policies. 

Who provides this award and decides winners? 

Since 2020, The Growing Water Smart award has been presented by APA Colorado, Sonoran Institute, and the Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy, a center of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. 

Why did Fort Collins stand out against the competition in 2021? 

In 2021, APA Colorado and their partners awarded the Merit Award for Growing Water Smart to the City of Fort Collins for the Fort Collins Water Shortage Action Plan and 2020 Water Restrictions. 

Downtown Fort Collins with the Cache la Poudre River

This plan involved extensive stakeholder outreach and interdepartmental collaboration making it a strong example of putting plans and policies in place to make a community more resilient to natural hazards such as wildfire and drought. Not only was the plan developed with foresight of potential water shortages, but it was also immediately implemented in the fall of 2020 to address three concurrent water issues: increased water demand due to drought; impacts from the Cameron Peak Fire on water quality and delivery; and temporary limitations to water supplies while repairs were being made to a dam outlet. This plan activation also included an after-action report, which further shows the City’s commitment to using data and analyzing conditions to inform its planning and implementation strategy. Please join us in congratulating the City of Fort Collins on Growing Water Smart! 

Will there be a Growing Water Smart award in 2022? 

Award Nominations for the 2022 cycle are coming soon. Nominated projects and plans must occur primarily in the state of Colorado. 

Growing Water Smart is a joint program of Sonoran Institute and the Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy, a center of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Blog post by Kashja Iler, marketing intern.