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For Immediate Release
Save The Poudre Coalition: Poudre Waterkeeper
December 14, 2009
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310

Colorado Water Conservation Board 21st Century Water Study Fatally Flawed?

Only 4% of stakeholders appointed to South Platte River Roundtable represent environmental or recreational interests. Water conservation not considered in future demand projections.

Fort Collins, CO -- On Thursday, Dec. 17th, the State of Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) will unveil its "Water for the 21st Century" report for the South Platte River basin, which includes the Poudre River and northern Colorado. This report is the product of laws passed by the state legislature in 2006 to create water supply plans for the whole state of Colorado. Unfortunately this study has serious, and perhaps fatal, flaws and appears to be rooted in the river-destruction policies of the 19th century rather than the diverse Colorado interests of the 21st century.

The study's flaws include:
• Water conservation is omitted as a viable strategy to address future water supply and demand.
• Population growth rates are overstated and do not reflect the significant slowing of growth that has occurred during the recession.
• Water supply projections have significant data inaccuracies and are miscalculated.
• Water "reuse" is not considered as a supply option, even though it is an increasingly viable alternative to new dams and reservoirs.
• The study does not account for the water supply that will come from thousands of acres of irrigated ag land that are already being, and will continue to be, taken out of production every year to make way for new population growth.
• On the CWCB's website, the process claims to represent "a diverse body of persons representing all water stakeholders," but of the 50 representatives on the South Platte River Roundtable, only 2 (4%) represent environmental or recreational interests.

These flaws, and others, are fully documented in letters sent to the CWCB by environmental groups. Links to those letters are here:

"This process and product should be called into question by the taxpaying public in Colorado," said Gary Wockner of the Save The Poudre Coalition, one of many citizen groups not represented at the South Platte Roundtable. "As this process and product moves forward, the CWCB needs to fix these serious flaws so that it provides an accurate, viable, and defensible approach to addressing future water supply needs."

The Basin Roundtable meeting is free and open to the public. It will take place on Dec. 17th from 1 to 5 p.m. at The Ranch, Larimer County Fairgrounds, in the McKee 4-H, Youth & Community Building. A weblink to the study is here:

The Save The Poudre Coalition is made up of 16 national, state, and regional groups including: National Wildlife Federation, Clean Water Action, Defenders of Wildlife, American Rivers, American Whitewater Association, Western Resource Advocates, Colorado Environmental Coalition, Lighthawk, Environment Colorado, Sierra Club – Rocky Mountain Chapter, Fort Collins Audubon Society, Citizen Planners, Wolverine Farm Publishing, Poudre Paddlers, Friends of the Poudre, and the Cache la Poudre River Foundation. Membership in these groups totals over 3 million American citizens.

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