Ever heard the saying “hydrate or die?”
Water is Colorado’s most precious resource. Our lives literally depend on it.
You might think of water as something that comes out of your tap, but with all the demands on Colorado’s water resources, eventually we could be tapped out.
And it’s not just about us: As a headwater state, Colorado’s rivers provide water for the 7 states in the Colorado River Basin including the desert southwest.
Climate change isn’t helping, either; as the temperatures continue to get warmer, the need for water grows.
Soon the demand may outweigh the supply. Here’s why:
POPULATION GROWTH –
Eighty percent of Colorado’s population lives in the Front Range, yet 80% of our water supply has traditionally gone to agriculture.
By the year 2050, Colorado’s population is expected to grow by 4.5 million as urban development continues to sprawl across the Front Range from Fort Collins to Pueblo—that’s a lot of water for a lot of people. The question is, where will it come from?
Home on the range, where the deer and antelopes play, water is becoming scarcer than ever.
Because of the demand for water from the big cities and suburbs along the Front Range,
Colorado’s ranchers and farmers are seeing their supply threatened. But here’s the catch: ranchers and farmers were here first and have secured many of the state’s senior water rights.
Not only is agriculture a 16 billion dollar industry in Colorado, it’s what defines our landscape and culture.
You’d be a pretty lone ranger without a range, right?
Big energy companies are chewing up Colorado’s private land and opens spaces at an alarming rate and using a significant portion of our water supply.
Oil and gas companies have the money to buy these big pieces of land, and the water rights that come with it.
Oil and gas are huge consumers of water, with oil shale potentially being the fastest growing demand for water in this sector. Energy development is literally chugging their share of water from our already limited supply.
RECREATION AND ENVIRONMENT
Here’s some good news: the state of Colorado has recognized the need to protect water for recreational or “non-consumptive use,”and to protectthe environment of our rivers and streams.
It helps that hunting and fishing is a $10 billion industry, so the state wants to protect that, too. Maintaining adequate river flow is a good thing for boaters, rafters and the endangered fish, whose lives depend on legislative protection.
The surf might be up, but it still means a portion of the water supply is off limits to meet all these other competing needs.
A tall glass of cold water is even more precious than you thought. With each competing demand, that’s another straw in the glass, draining what’s there even faster.
So before we drink up, some pretty tough decisions will have to be made to figure out how keep this precious resource on tap.
Ever heard the saying “hydrate or die?” Water is Colorado’s most precious resource. Our lives literally depend on it. You might think of water as something that comes out of your tap, but with all the demands on Colorado’s water resources, eventually we could be tapped out. And it’s not just about us: As a […]