The Colorado Water Plan
The Colorado Water Plan provides a framework for helping Colorado meet its water challenges through collaborative action around water development and water conservation. The Water Plan is a grassroots effort, and relies on the Colorado water community to identify and implement basin-specific and/or statewide water projects that provide multiple benefits to the state's diverse water users. The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) creates and manages the Water Plan framework, and supports the state's water community with funding and technical resources to implement programs and projects.
Learn More About the 2023 Colorado Water Plan
The 2023 Colorado Water Plan was adopted by the Colorado Water Conservation Board in January 2023 and serves as a framework for statewide collaboration around water planning. The Colorado Water Plan guides future decision-making and supports local actions to address water challenges with a collaborative, balanced, and solution-oriented approach that builds resilience. The Colorado Water Plan includes actions in four main focus areas that work together for a stronger state: Vibrant Communities, Robust Agriculture, Thriving Watersheds, and Resilient Planning. Read a text-only version of the graphic.
The Plan uses state-of-the-art data and tools to analyze the state’s water issues looking out to the year 2050. It identifies a range of tools like funding, equity, land use planning, storage, efficiency, education, and forest health to address identified risks and challenges. From there, the plan offers a range of collaborative partner actions that stakeholders can advance through grant funding & local projects, as well as specific actions the Colorado Water Conservation Board and other agency partners will commit to in order to advance the plan.
Water Plan Process & Background
The Water Plan is produced through a 3-step process that takes several years and requires substantial engagement with stakeholders. The image to the right is explained in the text below.
Phase 1- Analysis and Technical Update
An array of foundational data sets that describe our current and future water supplies and needs are compiled. This was finalized in 2019.
Phase 2- Basin Implementation Plans
Eight smaller, tailored water plans for each major river basin in Colorado are reviewed and updated. These were completed in January 2022.
Phase 3 - Comprehensive Update to the Water Plan
The Water Plan is updated roughly every ten years. The visions and actions within the plan are reviewed and updated and new information is included from the Analysis and Technical Update, and the Basin Implementation Plans.
The first Colorado Water Plan was released in 2015 to serve as the state's framework for solutions to the state's water challenges (download original 2015 Water Plan). The first plan helped establish widespread support for multi-beneficial water projects and was foundational in establishing the Water Plan Grants Program. The 2023 Water Plan is the first update to the state plan and builds off the original plan’s successes and collaboration.
Water Plan Grant Program
Colorado Water Plan grants support a range of multi-beneficial projects for water storage, water conservation, the water-land use nexus, agricultural efficiency, water education and awareness, watershed health, and outdoor recreation. Read about grant opportunities from the Colorado Water Plan Grant Program, another way for eligible organizations to get involved with securing Colorado's water future.