Guest column: Action is now the key to Colorado’s Water Plan | AspenTimes.com

Guest column: Action is now the key to Colorado’s Water Plan

Eric Kuhn and Jim Lochhead
Guest column

We should all truly celebrate. Two years after the governor's executive order, we finally have a Colorado Water Plan that lays out measurable objectives and metrics to help guide us toward a secure water future.

In the face of future challenges that include population growth and climate change, Colorado's first-ever Water Plan is a call to action to all Coloradans to work collaboratively to ensure we protect our scarce water resources by using and developing our water supplies in the most efficient and responsible manner possible.

We applaud those who contributed to this plan, including those involved with the critical work of the basin roundtables. But we are far from done.

The success of this plan will depend upon all of us — the Western Slope, the Front Range, agriculture, municipalities and environmentalists — putting aside our individual interests and coming together to do what's best for Colorado. This plan must be implemented. If not, all the years of effort will be wasted.

It won't be easy. Each of us must be willing to change. We must be willing to experiment, try new ideas and even risk failure. But we can learn from our mistakes and find ideas and projects that will help prepare us for an uncertain future. It will require leadership, collaboration and energy. It may be uncomfortable at times, and everyone isn't going to get everything they want. But if we're willing to roll up our sleeves, we can realize much of what is proposed in this plan, from conservation to land-use planning to storage.

The stakes are high. What makes Colorado great are our cities, agricultural economies, recreational opportunities and environment. What will keep Colorado great depends upon what we do today.

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The Colorado Water Plan is a roadmap to help us all prepare for an uncertain climate future and pending water shortages. If we don't prepare, we only have ourselves to blame for the cost to our residents, to our economy, to our environment and to our future. So the question we now must ask is: Do we collaborate and implement this plan, or do we do nothing and hope tomorrow takes care of itself? Here's to a move in the right direction.

Eric Kuhn is general manager of the Colorado River District. Jim Lochhead is CEO and manager of Denver Water.

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