By Chance Sticklen, KREX
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KREX) — The Western Slope is no stranger to drought. It’s a fight Coloradans have been waging for years. Last summer, the Grand Valley turned tomato red on the map, classified as in extreme or exceptional drought, but Andrea Lopez of Ute Water says some reservoirs are slowly filling back up.
Lopez says, “It is still possible to be experiencing drought conditions, more of a moderate, conservative level, not as extreme as last year. Drought can persist through any season and any time of year.”
Lopez says 2018 and 2021 were some of the worst years for drought, but for now, there is some good news. Lopez also says, “Colorado River Basin and local rivers are sitting at average or above-average snowpack levels.” Water Education Colorado kicked off a new campaign called “Water 22.”
Executive Director Jayla Poppleton says if Coloradans conserve 22 gallons of water a day, it adds up to 8,000 gallons a year per person, accounting for 48 billion gallons of water conserved across the state.
Poppleton says, “We face real risks to our water resources from drought and climate change, wildfire, and also the pressure of population growth.” Poppleton advises water providers to keep these solutions in mind, “rebates for things like turf replacements. Ripping out that thirsty bluegrass and replacing it with more native plants landscape.”
Other things include smart water rules and a conservation-based pricing structure. Water will always be a precious commodity for Colorado and officials are working hard to build on a plan first introduced back in 2015, the Colorado water plan. Poppleton added, “to identify water needs into the future for Colorado looking out to 2050 and balancing population growth and estimated water supply needs.”
Analyst’s project western Colorado’s populations could grow 30 to 50 percent by the year 2050. The question is will they survive without enough water?
View the full news segment HERE.