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Rebecca Mitchell
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A Combination of Water Supply Solutions

It is clear that the status quo approach to water supply will not lead to a desirable future for Colorado. The status quo approach could lead to a significant loss of irrigated agriculture and the associated wetlands – about 40% of the South Platte Basin and 30% of the Arkansas Basin would dry up. The status quo also would cost water providers about $18 billion to build infrastructure to meet expected demands – about $5 billion more than Interbasin Compact Committee (IBCC) alternative approaches would likely cost.

In recent years, Colorado’s water community has come together through the collaborative IBCC process and with the input of the nine basin roundtables to develop a vision for the state’s water supply future:

We envision a Colorado that balances municipal, industrial, agricultural, environmental and recreational water needs and promotes cooperation among all water uses.

The vision is supported by many water supply goals, which, when evaluated together, support the development of more balanced water supply strategies.

Examining a Range of Strategies
There is no silver bullet to address our state’s consumptive and nonconsumptive water supply needs. To be successful, a range of strategies will be required, and the CWCB, IBCC, basin roundtables and other stakeholders are working together to evaluate the trade-offs, risks and uncertainties associated with different strategies and combinations of strategies.

Read the CWCB’s Evaluation of Water Supply Strategies report for more information about this evaluation process.

Water Supply Portfolio Tool
To facilitate the discussion of future scenarios, portfolios and strategies, the CWCB created Colorado's Water Supply Future Portfolio and Trade-Off Tool. Using this modeling tool, Colorado’s water community can examine different combinations of strategies or “portfolios” for meeting the state’s future M&I water needs.

The portfolios include different mixes of strategies and water demand scenarios, as shown here: 

2050 Portfolio 
By allowing users to quickly and easily create a scenario and portfolios, stakeholders can immediately view the resulting trade-offs associated with individual portfolios, such as reduction in irrigated acres, changes in stream flows and costs. Through the Portfolio Tool, the CWCB, IBCC, basin roundtables and other stakeholders can make more informed decisions about how Colorado will meet its future water needs.