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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

Estimates for water demand hinge on population projections: how valid are they?

By Eryn Gable

Colorado's State Demography Office prepares population forecasts based on economic and demographic change. The economic forecast establishes the demand for labor, while demographic models indicate the supply of labor that can be provided by the existing population. The difference between the demand for labor and its supply serves as the foundation for estimates of population growth.

Eric Wilkinson, general manager of the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, says the demographer's estimates probably represent the best available information. ‘You're going to have pluses and minuses and economic swings and so forth, but in general, [the numbers] are probably pretty close.’

State demographer Elizabeth Garner says the office's projections have historically been fairly accurate, with an error margin of about 5 percent. Garner says that's mostly because the office does not forecast booms or busts, so its projections for such cycles tend to be less accurate. However, the office continually updates its forecasts based on the latest population estimates and economic information, which makes them reliable over the long-term.
Garner indicates that it's too early to tell what the country's current economic situation will mean for Colorado. What happens will be determined by how steep the recession is and how quickly we climb out of it. One bright spot for now is that Colorado's economy remains better off than a lot of other states, says Garner.

Based on the office's model, the state has extended the demographer's projections — which only go to 2035 -- and predicts Colorado will have between 8.5 and 11 million residents in 2050. The state passed the 5 million mark in July 2008.


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