Gunnison River Basin Recent News

Colorado Voters Legalize Sports Betting and Fund the Water Plan

Proposition DD passed by a narrow margin of 50.71% to 49.29%.

Estimates show that legalized gambling at casinos and through apps could eventually bring in $290 million in profit per year, producing $29 million annually to fund the Water Plan.  A 10% flat tax will be levied on all betting proceeds.  Legislative fiscal estimates show that sports betting could produce $11 million in the 2020-21 fiscal year. State collections would be capped at $29 million a year from a tax on casino sports betting profits.

The bill says the money can be spent on two things: the Water Plan Grant Program and compliance with Interstate water allocation compacts.

The Water Plan Grant Program funds projects in agriculture, conservation and land use, engagement and innovation, environment and recreation, and water storage and supply. The purpose of the program is to support projects that make progress on the goals identified in the Water Plan:

  • $3.75 million to facilitate the development of additional storage, artificial recharge into aquifers and dredging existing reservoirs to restore the reservoirs’ full decreed storage capacity.
  • $1.75 million to provide technical assistance, project, or program funding for agricultural projects.
  • $1.75 million to implement long-term strategies for conservation, land use and drought planning.
  • $500,000 for water education, outreach and innovation efforts.
  • $2.25 million for environmental and recreational projects.

In addition, money for the water plan can also be spent to make sure the state is in compliance with its interstate water allocation compacts. Mexico and 19 states rely on Colorado Water.  Lauren Ris, the deputy director for the Colorado Water Conservation Board, told Colorado Public Radio, “We are obligated to send a certain amount of water downstream to other states. In situations where we’re in a sustained drought, that can be really difficult to meet and potentially a pretty expensive for the state and also for water users.”  The amount allocated for compact compliance would be determined through the Colorado Water Conservation Board and a legislative process.

From Colorado Public Radio and KOAA News