As Colorado grows, land-use planning and water planning will become more closely connected. The manner in which Colorado develops into the future will have a strong influence on Colorado’s future water supply gap.
To facilitate the use of local land-use tools to reduce water demands for municipalities and avoid urbanization of agricultural lands, the State will work with partners to pursue the following actions.
- Encourage the use of local development tools
- Examine barriers in state law for implementing the above local development tools
- Incorporation of land-use practices into water conservation plans
- Strengthen partnerships
- Growing Water Smart
Since 2018, the CWCB has been working with the Sonoran Institute and Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy to bring Growing Water Smart workshops to Colorado. These workshops aim to train an interdisciplinary team of land use planners, water planners and elected officials to work together and develop an action plan to better integrate water planning into land use planning.
- Integrating Water Efficiency & Land Use Planning
Water providers in Colorado have been improving the efficiency of their use of water for many years. Enhancing water efficiency and conservation can bolster water supplies, enhance resilience, and contribute to quality of life for customers. Incorporating input from water providers into land use planning efforts can lead to the development of water efficiency strategies and provide a new suite of opportunities to achieve greater water savings.
- Breaking Down the Silos Webinar Series
The Colorado Water Conservation Board, the Pace University Land Use Law Center, and the Department of Local Affairs' Community Development Office hosted a series of webinars targeted at Colorado water providers and local government planners.
- Colorado Water and Growth Dialogue
By 2050, Colorado is projected to experience a near doubling in population along with an increase in municipal and industrial water demand. In the semi-arid climate of Colorado with limited water supplies, this increased water demand will result in a statewide water supply gap. Thus far, strategies to address the gap have generally taken three forms: develop new supply and water storage projects, implement reuse projects, and encourage water conservation. The Colorado Water and Growth Dialogue explored whether the integration of water and land use planning might reduce water demand from residential housing development and re-development associated with the projected population increase.
The Water and Growth Dialogue facilitates the exploration of data and information for land planners, water planners, policy makers, development interests, and others interested in the potential impact of integrating land and water planning. The topics of density and landscaping and their effects on water demand are important considerations for communities to examine as they plan for growth. One of the goals of the dialogue is to provide local planners and decision makers with accurate and useful information to consider water as a factor in new growth.
- Water & Land Use Planning Alliance
In December 2017, the CWCB and the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) convened the Water and Land Use Planning Alliance (Alliance). As the Colorado Water and Growth Dialogue wrapped up, there needed to be an outlet for the active players who had been engaged in the Dialogue to continue their work. Additionally, there needed to be a space to welcome new people and diversify the work space.
The Alliance usually meets quarterly to share work progress, new project ideas and to ensure the groups working in this space are not duplicating efforts. The Alliance is a great place to understand the current work for integrating water and land use planning being carried out in Colorado. If you're interested in viewing projects currently underway by Alliance members, check out this Story Map ( .
History of Meeting Summaries:
The detailed Story Map (below explores the nexus of land use planning and water management in Colorado. It provides an overview of the land use and water planning section in Colorado's Water Plan.