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Public Lands

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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

Letter from the Editor

In the lazy, hazy days of summer, the Foundation turns its attention to issues of water and growth in Colorado.

Our feature article summarizes some traditional and alternative approaches to providing water for growth, and highlights some interesting lessons. The first lesson: water scarcity does not stop growth.

The western system of water allocation—the prior appropriation doctrine—rests on the premise that water can be moved from where it is found, to where it is needed. And even though the current drought has resulted in watering restrictions and dried-up reservoirs, it has not curtailed new housing starts.

A 1972 law requires developers to provide evidence that their new developments will have water of sufficient quantity and quality to support whatever kind of construction proposed. Several counties now have 300-year water supply requirements for all new developments utilizing Denver Basin groundwater.

With concerns over unmitigated sprawl and long-term sustainability, water providers often find themselves in a controversial arena. But utilities, water and sanitation districts, or mutual ditch companies are not in the growth management and land use planning business. Their main job is to provide a service, water. They're not land use agencies; they don't regulate land use. Instead, with imperatives to provide reliable water supplies to meet future demands, water providers find themselves reacting to growth, not directing it.

Historically, the state legislature has deferred the majority of land use and water policies almost exclusively to local planning offices, city and county officials, citizens' advisory boards. Larger forces such as national, state, and regional economic trends, provide a behind-the-scenes directive.

This issue of Headwaters highlights how different communities are pursuing different approaches to meeting future water demands. And growth marches on. That's no surprise. Colorado is a great place to live.

Karla Brown, Editor

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