September 22, 2023 (Denver, CO) - During its September meeting in Salida, the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) voted to approve $7.8 million in funding to transform urban water use, restore watersheds, and reinvigorate agriculture across the state.
Among the cohort of recipients is Resource Central, a Boulder-based environmental nonprofit dedicated to helping people save water, reduce waste, and conserve energy. The $1.5 million grant will help accelerate transformative landscape change across the state through turf removal and replacement.
“This is the largest Water Plan Grant for Water Conservation that CWCB has ever awarded,” said Russ Sands, CWCB Water Supply Planning Section Chief. “And it’s truly a win-win as 40 percent of the state’s Turf Replacement Program participants were already working with Resource Central. This funding allows that good work to continue while CWCB continues to support in other ways. The Legislature originally funded HB-22-1151 and CWCB launched the program six months early to coincide with the release of the 2023 Colorado Water Plan. CWCB is also leading the Urban Landscape Conservation Task Force that Governor Polis called for to help inform how Colorado can achieve transformative landscape change at scale. Now the CWCB board is putting even more money to this important effort.”
The grant to Resource Central nearly doubles the original funding made available for the State's Turf Replacement program by legislation, and will help continue the momentum created by the program. Their three-year effort will expand outreach and implementation to the Western Slope, increase residential turf removal and replacement in partnership with 20+ metro water partners, engage new partners across the State through a multi-year matching fund, and pilot innovative efforts to address barriers to large-scale turf replacement. This project and CWCB’s related initiatives help support Action 1.7 in the Colorado Water Plan (Water Plan) Identify turf replacement options that support transformative landscape change.
In keeping with funding all the action areas of the Water Plan, the CWCB also approved several grants to support Thriving Watersheds. This includes $500,000 to the Mile High Flood District to complete a river restoration project on the South Platte River at Reynolds Landing in Littleton. The multi-purpose project is aimed at improving river resiliency, safety, quality of experience for recreational users, and connection of people to the natural environment while maintaining flood protection for surrounding communities.
Robust Agriculture was another focus of September's grants. For example, CWCB awarded $475,000 to Colorado Cattlemen’s Association and Colorado Ag Water Alliance for the Scaling Up Ag Water Education & Funding Outreach project. These efforts will assist producers and agricultural-oriented groups in understanding and securing funding for agricultural water projects over three years at the local, basin, and statewide scale.
“This funding will continue to build momentum as we implement the Water Plan and create a more sustainable and resilient water future in our state,” said Lauren Ris, CWCB Director. “I’m excited to see the progress of these projects over the next few years.”