House OKs bill to help fund water plan
State lawmakers plan to put an additional $20 million into the Colorado Water Plan under a bipartisan measure that won preliminary approval in the Colorado House on Wednesday.
That money comes on top of whatever revenue the state earns from sports betting, which voters approved in Proposition DD in 2019. The money would go to the Colorado Water Conservation Board, a division of the Department of Natural Resources that provides grants for water projects across the state.
“It’s going to require at least $100 million a year for us to satisfy the needs that have been outlined in that plan,” said House Speaker Alec Garnett, D-Denver, who introduced House Bill 1260 with Rep. Marc Catlin, R-Montrose.
“This bill is the biggest investment of general fund revenue that we have ever put toward that goal of funding the Colorado Water Plan,” Garnett added. “Hopefully, generations of Coloradans to come will be able to enjoy the state that we love because of bills like these.”
The plan, created in 2015, sets short- and long-term goals to meet future water needs while still maintaining the state’s agricultural, outdoor and environmental character.
It calls for numerous projects designed to maximize the use of water through a combination of watershed management, new storage projects and water conservation initiatives in the state’s eight river basins.
“The future of Colorado … is written in water,” Catlin said. “The state has not kept up on what we could be doing. This bill will give us an opportunity to start towards the goals that were laid out in the Colorado Water Plan. We don’t want the water plan to end up just being a dust catcher on somebody’s shelf.”
–Full article by Charles Ashby, The Daily Sentinel-