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Environment

Hickenlooper: Drought is of Historical Dimensions

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Kirk Siegler

Governor John Hickenlooper says the drought gripping most of Colorado is at “historical dimensions,” and the state’s water supplies are being stressed like no other time in history. 

The Governor’s remarks came at a statewide drought conference Wednesday afternoon in Denver. 

"Basically 100% of Colorado was classified as abnormally dry or worse, basically for the entire summer," Hickenlooper said.  "It was a long, hot summer."

Over the summer, when wildfires were burning intensely and heat was damaging crops, nearly all of Colorado was under severe drought conditions. 

Governor Hickenlooper warned the audience of local and state water managers that climate change will likely bring more severe droughts in the years to come.  He said this illustrates how vulnerable industries like farming and tourism are to a state with scarcer water, and a booming population.

"At some point we’re going to have do the analysis of what is the carrying capacity of Colorado," Hickenlooper said.  "That is going to have a strong component on water."

With the state’s population approaching six million people, Hickenlooper added that droughts like this one illustrate the need for the construction of more water storage projects and better conservation. He also said he hoped it would lead to smarter decisions about where future home and other developments should occur.

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