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Colorado's public lands are faced with new challenges but water and land management depend on working together. Read about the relationship between water and land in Colorado and how Coloradans are converging to restore Colorado's public lands in the Spring 2018 issue of Headwaters magazine.

Browse articles and find a flipbook of the magazine here.

Connecting the Drops

connectingdropslogo4.1Bringing you the reporting you crave over the radio airways with extras and archives on our website. Visit the audio archives or listen to the latest story on the connection between Colorado's forests, watersheds, and forest fires:

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Water Education Colorado

Interbasin Compact Process 101: The ins and outs of the state's latest approach to water planning

Six years ago the state of Colorado undertook its first-ever statewide assessment of local water supplies and demands through the Statewide Water Supply Initiative, commonly known as SWSI. In 2005, the Colorado Legislature voted to further that effort, passing the Colorado Water for the 21st Century Act in House Bill 1177. The legislation established the Interbasin Compact Process, which aims to develop a collective understanding of the state's overall water supply needs and to devise solutions for meeting those needs in the future.

The process, which is also referred to as the IBCC Process or 1177 Process, brings together diverse players from across the state who are working from a local level while gaining a statewide perspective.HB 1177 created two new forums. At the grassroots level, the law authorized the creation of nine roundtables corresponding to river basins — or, in some cases, several lumped together -- plus one for the Denver metropolitan area. Within the roundtables each municipality in the basin must be represented, plus each county government, and each water conservancy or water conservation district. The legislation's formula also confirms representation by environmental, agricultural, and recreational interests in addition to those who speak for domestic water, irrigation companies, and industrial rights. Still three more chairs are allotted to non-voting members from outside the basin who represent entities that either own water rights or have other interests within the basin; there is an exception -- the Colorado Basin Roundtable has seven chairs for this purpose. Most roundtables have 30 to 50 members.

The basin roundtables initially focused on organizing themselves by identifying members, establishing bylaws and educating themselves about their basin's issues. Then, the roundtables were instructed to assess both their basins' consumptive water needs as well as non-consumptive needs and to propose projects or other methods that could meet those needs. The roundtables are relying, in part, upon work previously conducted through SWSI. After three years of preparation, the roundtables' reports, called needs assessments, are now being completed.

The Legislature also created a statewide forum called the Interbasin Compact Committee, often called by its acronym, IBCC. The IBCC has 27 members, including two representatives from each roundtable. Six at-large members are appointed by the governor; two slots are filled by the chairpersons for the House and Senate Agriculture, Livestock and Natural Resource Committees; and the final member is chosen by the IBCC's director of compact negotiations. These appointments are made to ensure diversity of interest-based and geographical representation.

The IBCC was charged with creating an Interbasin Compact Charter containing rules to guide voluntary negotiations between roundtables. It is also intended to facilitate dialogue between basins, hopefully encouraging formerly competing interests to collaborate for each other's benefit. An underlying purpose of the legislation is to unify the state as each basin develops greater understanding not only of its own water supply challenges, but also those of the other basins.

Both the roundtables and the IBCC are working to inform and involve the public in their activities. All meetings are open. Calendars and additional background information can be found at: www.ibcc.state.co.us.

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