12:52pm

Tue February 28, 2012
Environment

Report Critical of Large Water Storage Projects

The second in a two-part report released Tuesday by a Boulder-based conservation group projects that water managers in the Arkansas River basin can exceed expected water demands by implementing a mix of conservation and small water storage projects.

Last year the group Western Resource Advocates published a report examining how to meet projected water demands in the South Platte River basin in northeast Colorado.  This new second report looks at the equally-stressed Arkansas River basin in southeast Colorado, though its conclusions are similar. 

The report recommends a mix of conservation and water reuse programs and small water development projects, namely a proposal around the Eagle River.

Author Jorge Figueroa says if policy managers adopted these strategies, they could actually exceed projected water supply demands by 2050.

"A huge amount of water can be kept in the system and resold at a much cheaper price than new, expensive and environmentally damaging infrastructure projects," Figueroa said.

The report’s release follows a decision last week by federal regulators to reject a controversial application for a 550 mile water pipeline linking a southwest Wyoming reservoir with the Colorado Front Range.  It also comes ahead of a meeting later this week in Broomfield where state water policy managers will discuss future supply projects.