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Taryn Finnessey
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Climate Change

NEW! 2015 Colorado Climate Plan

 

Governor John Hickenlooper, business and industry leaders and department directors have released the Colorado Climate Plan, a statewide strategy of policy recommendations and actions to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and to increase Colorado’s level of preparedness. The Colorado Climate Plan focuses on seven main sectors including water, public health, energy, transportation, agriculture, tourism and recreation, and ecosystems. Moving forward, the Colorado Climate Plan will serve as a roadmap for state agencies to confront some of the worst effects of climate change and identify priority actions.  The state will work to ensure the plan complements other relevant efforts, including the EPA’s recently finalized Clean Power Plan, the Climate Change in Colorado Report, and the Colorado Climate Change Vulnerability Study. 

Want to Remain Engaged?
Attend a Clean Power Plan Public Comment Session. Click here for additional information. 

- Week of January 11, 2016 in Commerce City, CO
- Week of January 25, 2016 in Brush, CO 

Water Sector Stakeholder Engagement Session - January 27, 2016

The Colorado Climate Plan release in September of 2015 set broad state agency level objectives for addressing climate change in Colorado. The plan brought together a number of initiatives and short-to-mid term goals, but it is only the beginning of the discussion.  The Colorado Water Conservation Board wants input from the water community on how we should chart our path forward.  What are the water sectors biggest concerns regarding climate change? How can the state help to address those?  This is an opportunity for concerned citizen and water stakeholder to help shape the state's next steps in addressing climate change in the water sector.  This session will be held in conjunction with the Colorado Water Congress Annual Convention. If you are not planning to attend the convention or workshops, please contact Ben Wade (ben.wade@state.co.us) to register for this event. There is no charge for participating in the Water Sector Stakeholder Engagement Session.


2014 Climate Change in Colorado Report 

The scientific evidence is clear – the Earth’s climate is warming. Multiple independent measurements confirm widespread warming in the western United States. In Colorado, temperatures increased by approximately 2°F between 1977 and 2006. These increasing temperatures affect the state’s water resources.

Climate Change in Colorado Report

This report is a synthesis of climate science relevant for management and planning for Colorado’s water resources. It focuses on observed climate trends, climate modeling, and projections of temperature, precipitation, snowpack, and streamflow. The report utilizes a mid-21st century time frame that can be used in the development of adaptation strategies by the State of Colorado and other water entities. Climate Projections and Colorado’s Water Resources
  • Current climate models project that Colorado will warm by 2.5°F by 2025 and 4°F by 2050. Summers are likely to warm more than winters.
  • Warmer temperatures will affect evaporation rates in our rivers, streams and reservoirs, perhaps making less water available for beneficial use.
  • A projected seasonal shift in precipitation may result in more mid-winter precipitation throughout the state and, in some areas, a decrease in late spring and summer precipitation.
  • Lower elevation snowpack (below 8200 ft.) is likely to decline, with modest declines projected for high elevation snowpack (above 8200 ft.).
  • The timing of runoff is projected to shift earlier in the spring, which may reduce late summer stream flows. These changes will probably occur regardless of changes in precipitation.

How does the CWCB address climate change?
Although Colorado has developed methods to manage water resources in the past, these future climate changes may pose new challenges for water managers. The CWCB helps water managers by supporting planning efforts on a local, regional and statewide basis. CWCB's efforts include:
  • The Colorado Climate Preparedness Project: The project provides a catalog of climate impacts and adaptation activities and options in five climate sensitive sectors in the state: water, wildlife, ecosystems and forests, electricity, agriculture and outdoor recreation.  An associated online database is also available.
  • The Colorado River Water Availability Study: The study aims to find out how much water from the Colorado River Basin System is available to meet Colorado’s current and future water needs.
  • The Joint Front Range Climate Change Vulnerability Study: The study provided the education, tools and methodology necessary to examine the possible effects of climate change on several common watersheds.
  • Drought Planning: The CWCB encourages and assists communities in preparing and implementing drought mitigation plans, monitors drought impacts and educates water providers about drought planning.
  • The Colorado Drought Mitigation and Response Plan: The plan provides a road map to assist the state with reducing the impact of water shortages over the short and long-term. The plan includes a mechanism for drought monitoring, impact assessment, response to emergency drought problems and mitigation of long-term drought impacts.
  • The Colorado Climate Action Plan: The plan sets specific, achievable goals for Coloradans to help address global warming.