Friday, August 26, 2016
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Developing Colorado with Water Conservation in Mind



Finding enough water to meet the demands of the booming Front Range has city planners closely looking at how new developments can be built with water conservation as a key component. And with the second draft of Colorado's Water Plan scheduled for release in July, many water advocates are hoping to see the issue of land use addressed. As Maeve Conran reports for our statewide water series, in the arid west, land and water use go hand in hand.

 Proposed Development Westminsterweb

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Pair Sound with Sight 

Elizabeth Garnerweb

State Demographer Elizabeth Garner says the population of Colorado is forecast to grow by more than 2 million by 2040 to approximately 7.8 million people. Garner says those projections are important for land use and water planners as they consider how to provide resources for the growing population.

Drew Beckwithweb

Drew Beckwith, water policy manager with Western Resource Advocates, says that while Colorado has a strong tradition of local control, a statewide approach to regulating land use when it comes to water is the way of the future.  “Frankly, there are some things that are better done at a statewide level.”

Grant Penlandweb

Grant Penland, principal planner with the City of Westminster.  The city adopted a growth management program in 1978, which means all new residential development must go through a service commitment competition which incentivizes water conservation.

Proposed Development Westminsterweb

This almost-9-acre parcel of land just off Highway 36 just north of Denver will be home to 65 single family detached houses. This is one of the last undeveloped parcels of land in city limits, and unlike older developments, it will have a lot less lawn. 

Stu Feinglassweb

Stu Feinglas, is the Water Resources Analyst for the City of Westminster.  A recent study done by the city found that Westminster single family homes are using about 70 percent of the water the city projected they would need for their yards. Back in 2001 water use was at 100 percent of projections.

Westminster Town Hallweb

Water planners and land use planners share the same building in the City of Westminster making collaboration easier.  Since 2001, Westminster has added about 12,000 people and the water demand has stayed the same or gone down slightly.  Water Resources Analyst Stu Feinglas credits better water efficiency in plumbing fixtures and a significant reduction in outdoor water use.  

Connecting the Drops Partners

Connecting the Drops is a radio collaboration between the Colorado Foundation for Water Education and Colorado Community Radio Stations KGNU, KDNK and KRCC.

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 Support for 2016 programming comes from CoBank