Colorado Water Plan

On May 15, 2013, Governor Hickenlooper issued an Executive Order mandating the development of a statewide, comprehensive Water Plan for the entire state of Colorado. The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) and staff were directed to work with nine roundtables and the citizens of the state to produce a guidance document to address projected future demands for the limited water resources of the state.

According to,  after “30 months of drafting, 3 draft water plans, 8 Basin Implementation Plans, 30,000 public comments, and many years of discussions, the CWCB voted to approve Colorado’s Water Plan and deliver the plan to Governor Hickenlooper and the people of Colorado,” in December 2015.

The plan outlines broad concepts for meeting the State’s water needs through the year 2050 in the face of unpredictable climate change and the state demographer’s projection that the state’s population will double. The plan endeavors to do this by balancing the often-conflicting objectives of agricultural preservation, possible new transmountain diversion development, municipal water conservation, and environmental enhancement while protecting Colorado’s legal and institutional system of interstate compacts and equitable apportionment decrees, and local control.

The entire plan, as well as the Executive Summary, can be downloaded here.

Locally in the Gunnison Basin, there is a ‘Basin Roundtable’ that has been meeting regularly since 2005. It is made up of appointed volunteers that have been working to protect and develop the water resources of the basin by analyzing and advocating, as well as, evaluating and discussing the important topics that are now memorialized in the Water Plan and in the Gunnison Basin Implementation Plan.

More information about the Gunnison Basin Roundtable and its products and processes.

Additionally, the Gunnison Basin Implementation Plan is discussed here and can be downloaded here.

Kathleen Curry

Jesse Kruthaupt


Video on the Upper Gunnison Integrated Water Management Plan with Kathleen Curry and Jesse Kruthaupt.