The AGWT December conference program on the Conjunctive Use of Groundwater and Surface Water was a follow-up conference to the program that was held in 2012, which discussed river accretions due to artificial recharge and stream depletions due to well pumping. A major feature of the 2013 event was active participation by state legislators. (Pictured at the microphone is Rep Randy Fisher flanked to his right by Senator Scott Renfroe and Rep Lori Saine). Other legislator participants were State Representatives Don Coram, Steve Lebsock, and Dave Young.
The conference presented information about alluvial stream/ aquifer systems and the ways in which models of their hydrology are used for management decisions that protect water rights while optimizing beneficial use. This issue is of importance for all the major rivers in eastern Colorado have hydrologic connection with alluvial aquifers and are impacted by irrigation and groundwater pumping.
In a keynote presentation, John Stulp, (pictured), the Governor’s advisor on Water Issues and Director of the Colorado Interbasin Compact Committee (IBCC) presented an overview of the vision and goals for the Colorado Water Plan mandated earlier in the year by Governor Hickenlooper. He stated that population growth in Colorado is set to double by 2050 and that there would likely need to be changes to the current water use in the state which is 89% agricultural, 9% is municipal and industrial, and 2% self-supplied industrial.
The creation of river basin roundtables and the IBCC has created a process through which water management discussions and decisions can take place in a bottom-up fashion that takes local variability into account.
A CD of the presentations (PDF format) offered at the Denver Water Conference is available for a small fee that supports the education programs of the American Ground Water Trust. Send an email to the Trust for more information.